Here's some bad news for all those with a sweet tooth! Just like there's good and bad fats, now it has been proved that apparently there's good and bad sugar as well. A new study from the University of California, suggests that people better watch out for the kinds of sugar they consume in order to avoid harmful health effects.
Peter Havel, who led the study, says that overweight adults who consume large amounts of fructose have been found to experience alarming changes in body fat and insulin sensitivity that do not occur after eating glucose.
He and his colleagues persuaded 33 overweight and obese adults to go on a diet that was 30 per cent fat, 55 per cent complex carbohydrates, and 15 per cent protein for two weeks.
For a further 10 weeks, the participants switched to a diet in which 25 per cent of their energy came from either fructose or glucose.
The researchers found that people who were given fructose showed an increase in the amount of intra-abdominal fat that wraps around internal organs, causes a pot belly, and has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
However, no such increases were seen among participants who consumed glucose, even though subjects in both groups gained an average 1.5 kilograms in weight.
The researchers have revealed that the participants who consumed fructose also had raised levels of fatty triglycerides, which get deposited as intra-abdominal fat, and cholesterol. Their insulin sensitivity also fell by 20 per cent.
Glucose, on the other hand, seemed to have no effect on these measures.
While presenting the study's findings at a meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Francisco last week, Havel said that the tests his team conduced looked only at pure fructose, and therefore it was not yet clear whether such substances were to blame for obesity and diabetes.
"The question is, what is the amount of HFCS or normal sugar you need to consume to get these effects?" said Havel, who is planning a long-term study to find out.
He, however, said that it was not too soon for people with metabolic syndrome to avoid drinking too many fructose-containing beverages.
PepsiCo, which sponsored Havel's research, disagreed.
"This is a very interesting and important study. But it does not reflect a real-world situation nor is it applicable to PepsiCo since pure fructose is not an ingredient in any of our food and beverage products," says a spokeswoman.