February 13, 2009

Fructose drinks linked to upped heart risk

Obese people who consume fructose-sweetened drinks with meals have an increased rise of triglycerides -- a predictor of heart disease, U.S. researchers said.

Lead author Karen L. Teff, a metabolic physiologist at the Monell Center in Philadelphia, said triglycerides are manufactured by the body from dietary fat and are the most common form of fat transported in blood.

Although normal levels of triglycerides are essential for good health, high levels are associated with increased risk for atherosclerosis and other predictors of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers studied 17 obese men and women. The subjects were given identical meals and blood was collected from an intravenous catheter over a 24-hour period. The only difference was the sweetener used in the beverages that accompanied the meals -- beverages were sweetened with glucose during one admission and with fructose during the other.

The study, published online by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that although fructose increased triglyceride levels in all of the subjects, this effect was especially pronounced in insulin-resistant subjects, who already had increased triglyceride levels.

The total amount of triglycerides over a 24-hour period was almost 200 percent higher when the subjects drank fructose-sweetened beverages, the study said. Blood triglyceride levels were higher when subjects drank fructose-sweetened beverages with their meals compared to when they drank glucose-sweetened beverages.