Foods Containing Fructose Can Cause Metabolic Syndrome

It is much easier to say that you will start eating healthy from tomorrow but somehow that tomorrow always remains elusive. Mounting evidence suggests that excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, usually containing additional sugars in the form of table sugar (sucrose) or high fructose corn syrup can be a contributing factor in causing the metabolic syndrome (MetS), says a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

A team of Canadian researchers from three famous universities including the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan, and McMaster University did a meta analysis. The team’s area of interest was to find out a correlation between major food sources of fructose-containing sugars, such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, and the risks of developing MetS which is a cluster of metabolic disorders.

MetS can cause high blood pressure (HBP), high blood sugar, increased body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol level which further can result in harmful and negative health outcomes including increased risk of developing heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and stroke.

The condition affects about 23% of the adults, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Source: Cardio Smart, American College of Cardiology

Therefore, the current research team conducted a meta-analysis and systematic review by combining the result of 13 different studies. The sample was excluded from MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library from database inception to March 24, 2020. The studies involved nearly 50,000 participants from four different countries including the United States, Spain, Iran, and South Korea. Out of the total, more than 14,000 were diagnosed with MetS. Their ages lied between 6 to 90 years.

The team used fructose-containing foods including yogurt, 100% fruit juices, and sugary sweet beverages (SSBs). Normal consumption of sugar for men is 150 calories per day which is equivalent to nine teaspoons (or 37.5 grams) of sugar. For women, it is 100 calories (six teaspoons or 25 grams) a day.

Source: Diabetes Meal Plan

However, the team used the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale which is a tool to measure the quality of nonrandomized studies in meta-analyses. By combining all the results, the investigators found out 8 unique study findings of using 8 different eateries.

SSB: The combination of seven studies that included more than 20,000 participants that used sugar-sweetened beverages and above 7400 out of the total had experienced MetS.

Mixed Fruit Juice: Second findings included 3 studies involving above 3000 participants that used mixed fruit juice. The team found 1322 cases of MetS.

 100% Fruit Juice: A combination of two studies including nearly 5500 of which 1389 was found to be diagnosed with MetS that used 100% fruit juice.

Fruits: Four studies involved above 10,000 of which 3002 people who ate fruits had experienced MetS.

Yogurt: Five pieces of research with a sample size of nearly 20,000 of which 3877 who used yogurt in their diet had a diagnosis of MetS.

Honey & Ice-cream: Two studies had similar findings of those who used honey and ice-cream. They found 590 cases of MetS from a total of 3616.

Confectionary: Another two studies involving those participants who used confectionery or sweets and chocolates in their diet. The confectionery group had 250 cases of MetS from a total sample of 1476.

The co-author of the study Dr. John L Sievenpiper, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, said:

“Our findings suggest that we should be taking a look at whole foods, not just at individual ingredients, as we develop a diet and nutritional guidelines. Metabolic syndrome is an important warning sign for more serious health conditions, and the more we can use it as an opportunity to get people to make positive lifestyle changes — including a healthy diet — the better,”.

By taking all into account, the investigators found out that the consumption of 12 ounces or more of fructose is highly linked with MetS incidence by increasing 14% chances of a person to develop MetS.

The findings of the present study should re-examined the current policies and guidelines with a food-based lens. The study was funded by grant 129920 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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