Recent research has given people a lot to think about when it comes to the added sugar in their diet. Not that long ago common wisdom told us that our collective sweet tooth may be bad for our teeth, but we didn’t worry much about our overall health. However, a new review on fructose in an upcoming Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) says think again. It indicates just how dangerous the simple sugar may be.
In the JASN article, Richard J. Johnson, MD, chief of the Renal Diseases and Hypertension Division at the University of Colorado and Takahiko Nakagawa, MD, director of Research at University of Colorado, provide a concise overview of recent clinical and experimental studies to understand how excessive amounts of fructose – present in added sugars – may play a role in high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Dietary fructose is present in our food primarily in added dietary sugars, honey, and fruit. Most people are eating fructose from sucrose, a disaccharide containing 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose bonded together, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a mixture of free fructose and free glucose, usually in a 55/45 proportion.
With the introduction of HFCS in the 1970s, an increased intake of fructose has occurred in the American diet and obesity rates have soared simultaneously, studies show. Prior to the introduction of HFCS, about 15 percent of Americans were considered obese, today it's 33 percent, including a growing number of children and teens.
As Americans’ weight increase so do the risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Obesity has also been linked to breast cancer in postmenopausal women, endometrial cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer and esophageal cancer.
More and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of excessive fructose in their diet and this has led to a consumer revolt. As such, food manufacturers have recently started to advertise they are no longer using HFCS in their products.