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Research Updates | Diabetes

Added sugars and risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart disease

02 / 05 / 16

This article, by Rippe & Angelopoulos (2016), is based on a presentation at a symposium on sweeteners and health held at the European Congress on Obesity in May 2015.

The authors say the effects of added sugars on chronic conditions are highly controversial. Although some investigators argue added sugars increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, few randomised controlled trials support this. The research is complicated by animal studies that use very large doses of added sugars, and use pure glucose and fructose, neither of which is relevant to typical human diets. In reviewing recent RCTs and cohort studies, the authors conclude that normal added sugars (sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and isoglucose*) consumed in typical amounts, or substituted isoenergetically with other carbohydrates, do not cause a unique risk of obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

* Isoglucose is a generic term for four distinct products: glucose syrup, glucose-fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup and fructose syrup, each characterized by a different mixture of fructose and glucose. Isoglucose can be produced from starchy crops such as corn or wheat.