Diabetics should not replace glucose with fructose, says study

Mon, 12 Dec 2011
Scientists in the United States have warned that diabetics who use fructose in their diet rather than glucose are putting themselves at risk from other health problems, despite it helping reduce levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

With fructose being linked with hypertension, adiposity and increased levels of uric acid, the study argues that using fructose as a way for diabetes patients who are at risk from such comorbidities to manage the blood sugar may not be an ideal solution. James Rosenzweig, from Boston University, commented "fructose itself may have metabolic risks compared with glucose."

Fructose, a monosaccharide that is the main sugar contained in fruit, is actually metabolised by the liver, as opposed to glucose, which needs insulin to help move it into the body's muscle tissue so that it can be processed into energy. Once there, it is converted into glycogen and lipids.

Although previous studies have claimed that fructose could be a useful alternative to glucose in the diets of diabetics, as it does away with the need for insulin, there are now concerns about its impact on metabolism, especially regarding these comorbidities.

For instance, high levels of uric acid can lead to kidney stones, gout and even atherosclerosis, which is problematic as the hardening of the arteries is a known complication of diabetes. Too much fructose could also be a risk factor for high blood pressure, another typical comorbidity for diabetics.
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