Is Fructose Unfairly Demonized as a Cause of Obesity?

Mainly because of its low cost, HFCS [high fructose corn syrup] consumption replaced approximately one-third of the total sugar consumption in the USA between 1970 and 2000, paralleling to some extent the increasing prevalence of obesity during this period. Consequently, HFCS has been a particular focus of possible blame for the obesity epidemic. However, HFCS consumption has remained very low in other parts of the world where obesity has also increased, and the most commonly used form of HFCS contains about 55% fructose, 42% glucose, and 3% other sugars, and hence is associated with similar total fructose and glucose intakes as with sugar. Furthermore, sucrose is hydrolyzed in the gut and absorbed into the blood as free glucose and fructose, so one would expect HFCS and sucrose to have the same metabolic consequences. In short, there is currently no evidence to support the hypothesis that HFCS makes a significant contribution to metabolic disease independently of the rise in total fructose consumption.

Given the substantial consumption of fructose in our diet, mainly from sweetened beverages, sweet snacks, and cereal products with added sugar, and the fact that fructose is an entirely dispensable nutrient, it appears sound to limit consumption of sugar as part of any weight loss program and in individuals at high risk of developing metabolic diseases. There is no evidence, however, that fructose is the sole, or even the main factor in the development of these diseases…

— Luc Tappy in BMC Biology, May 21, 2012 (the article is a review of fructose metabolism and potential adverse effects of high consumption)

PS: Luc Tappy believes that excessive calorie consumption is an important cause of overweight and obesity.


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3 responses to “Is Fructose Unfairly Demonized as a Cause of Obesity?

  1. Bud

    Sorry but this is a bad post. The author of this post may not fully understand the difference between fructose as a simple sugar and HFCS.

    The title really misleads. The quote is not about fructose and its metabolic effect. The quote is only saying sugar and HFCS are the same. This is true and not controversial.

    The last sentence in the first quote block says there is no evidence that HFCS is a problem independent of the consumtion of fructose itself. So even if fructose were a poison on the par with cyanide, this would still be true. Yet the blog author has a title that indicates that Tappy is clearing fructose. He is not. He is only equating Sucrose and HFCS.

    Overuse of fructose is a problem according to Lustig regardless of its source. It could be a high fruit diet or by consuming sugar or HFCS. Tappy says nothing to contradict Lustig.

  2. HFCS is definitely to blame for obesity. It might not be the only cause but it is definitely the largest contributor.

  3. Pingback: Hidden Dangers: Foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup « My Son Hates Corn Syrup