Fructose is an ingredient used in beverages as a
sweetening agent. Studies have shown that metabolic syndrome is associated with
intake of western diets rich in sugars and saturated fats.
Researchers from Brazil conducted a study to
evaluate if a diet rich in fructose could alter metabolism in rats. The study
was done on 28 rats divided into 2 groups. One group of rats was fed a
fructose-rich diet over 8 weeks, while the second group was fed a normal diet.
Some of the animals were euthanized at the end of the study to evaluate the
effect of a high fructose diet on the liver and various metabolic parameters.
At the end of 8 weeks, it was found that the rats
fed on fructose-rich had similar weights compared to those rats fed with a
normal diet. The authors thus concluded that a high fructose diet does not
cause short-term changes in weight.
The fructose-fed rats were found to have a reduced
glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.
Their livers also showed high levels of
triglycerides; fructose is normally converted into triglycerides in the liver.
The antioxidant activity was reduced in fructose-fed
rats. Liver enzymes were also affected indicating liver damage. The liver
damage was confirmed on microscopic examination of the liver.
This study on
rats thus indicates that a diet rich in fructose could lead to liver damage and
cause metabolic effects that may contribute to the development of metabolic
1. Botezelli JD et al. Fructose consumption leads to reduced aerobic
capacity and to liver injury in rats. Lipids in Health and Disease 2012, 11:78