Fructose needs better P.R.

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A new meta-analysis of 18 studies, published in Diabetes Care, examined the effect on blood sugar levels of fructose consumption among diabetics. The findings revealed that, contrary to popular wisdom, fructose significantly improved blood sugar control.

Fructose, a simple sugar also known as fruit sugar, often receives a bad rap for its alleged contribution to obesity and other metabolic dysfunctions. But as lead author Dr. John Sievenpiper points out, it s not the sugar itself that s unhealthy; rather, the over-consumption of calories is the real culprit.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava agrees. Fructose is a constant victim of bad press, in that blaming it for metabolic syndrome has become just a matter of course, she says. What people are not aware of is that most of the studies implicating fructose are looking at unnaturally high levels of consumption. Moreover, the fructose issue gets confused sometimes intentionally with a similar mythology about the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup, which is in fact not much different from simple table sugar, or sucrose.

The meta-analysis included trial data from over 200 participants who had been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes and fed either a diet containing fructose or one that was fructose-free. Both groups consumed the same number of calories. The researchers discovered that, with moderate consumption of fructose, the level of blood sugar control was equal to or better than what is accomplished with oral antidiabetic drugs.

All negative attention on fructose-related harm draws further away from the issue of eating too many calories, concluded Adrian Cozma, study author. Attention needs to go back where it belongs, which is on the concept of moderation.