A new study published in The American Journal of Physiology –Heart and Circulatory Physiology concluded that the type of sugar youeat–and not just caloric count–may dtermine your risk of chronic disease. This animal study compared the effects of two types of sugar on metabolic and vascular function.
In the research female rats were given a liquid solution of glucose (form of sugar resulting from carbohydrate breakdown in the body) or fructose(sugar found in fruit and fruit juice) in addition to their normal diet of solid food. Subjects were given the sweetened liquids for eight weeks that is roughly equilavent to humans eating large amounts of sugar for six years. The sugar fed rats were compared with a control group that received plain drinking water with solid food.
Researchers found that although both sugar groups consumed more calories than the control group the total caloric intake of the glucose-fed rats was higher than the fructose group. In addition, “despite the difference, only the fructose group exhibited a significant increase in final body weight.” Besides a higher weight gain, the fructose group showed more markers of vascular disease and liver damage than the glusose group including high triglycerides, increased liver weight, decreased fat burning in the liver (that can contribute to fatty liver) and impaired relaxation of the aorta that can affect blood pressure.
Research suggest that an increase in the amount of calories consumed due to sweeteners is not the only factor involved in long-term health risks. The type of sugar may also have a role in increasing risk factors of heart diusease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.