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Research Updates | Cardiovascular disease

Consumption of HFCS sweetened beverages on cardiovascular risk factors

24 / 06 / 15

Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1144-54. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.100461. Epub 2015 Apr 22.

The aim of this study was to determine the dose-response effects of consuming beverages with different concentrations of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on risk markers for CVD, and uric acid.

The non-randomised double blind intervention study had parallel groups consuming beverages with 0% (aspartame sweetened), 10%, 17.5% or 25% of their energy from HFCS sweetened beverages. The experimental groups were matched for gender, BMI and concentration of fasting lipids and insulin. For 5 weeks before the study, participants were asked to limit daily consumption of sugar containing beverages to no more than one 8-oz serving of fruit juice. Twenty four hour serial blood collections were taken at day three of the baseline run in and after three weeks of the intervention period, and blood lipids and uric acid were measured. Participants were to consume one serving of the study beverage with each meal and not to consume any other SSB. Compliance was measured by the addition of riboflavin to drinks, which was measured in the urine.

Positive dose-response effects were seen for all end points measured (16 outcomes). All outcomes except change in body weight, fasting TG and fasting apoCIII remained significantly different after correction for multiple comparisons. Change in 24-hour mean uric acid concentration was the outcome most affected by dose.

Consumption of beverages providing 10%, 17.5% or 25% of energy requirements as HFCS produces dose-dependent increases in established risk factors for CVD in young men and women over 2 weeks.

Limitations to consider include non-randomisation of subjects and the different number of subjects in each group. Also, low subject number and thus low power of the study. The timeframe of 2 weeks is short, particularly to measure body weight. Total sugar intake or energy intake of subject’s diet was not measured.  Beverages were consumed in addition to an ad libitum diet so subjects are likely to have been in positive energy balance. The study was conducted in the US, where HFCS is commonly used, in Australia and New Zealand HFCS is rarely consumed.