Researchers have discovered that there’s no visible benefit to using glucose instead of fructose, the sugar that’s often blamed for North America’s ballooning obesity problem. A team at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto has found that, when portion sizes and calories are similar, fructose and glucose have essentially the same impact.
In recent years some experts have suggested that fructose — which is a simple sugar found in honey, fruit, and vegetables — might be responsible for a number of obesity-related issues.
But a new study shows that fructose is no more damaging than glucose, a sweetener also found in plants.
The St. Michael’s researchers compared the effects of both fructose and glucose against a number of important health risk issues. They found that consuming fructose can lead to a spike in cholesterol and a unique type of fat found in the blood.
But the researchers found that fructose did not have any impact on insulin production. In fact, they found some evidence to suggest that fructose is actually healthier than glucose.
“In calorie-matched conditions, we found that fructose may actually be better at promoting healthy body weight, blood pressure and glycemic control than glucose,” noted Dr. John Sievenpiper, a researcher at St. Michael’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center.
Overall, Sievenpiper says the findings suggest there’s really no point in swapping in glucose and swapping out fructose.
“Despite concerns about fructose’s link to obesity, there is no justification to replace fructose with glucose because there is no evidence of net harm,” Sievenpiper said.
Sievenpiper says that, ultimately, people just need to consume less. “Overeating, portion size and calories are what we should be refocusing on — they’re our biggest problems.”