Fructose affects sexes differently

Men and women appear to differ in how they metabolise high levels of fructose, a simple sugar commonly used to sweeten drinks and foods.

Short-term high fructose intake among young men resulted in increased blood triglycerides (fats) and decreased insulin resistance, factors associated with an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, report Dr Luc Tappy and colleagues.

Whereas, "women get rid of the excess sugar load in a (likely) less deleterious way," said Tappy, of Lausanne University School of Biology and Medicine in Switzerland.

"Hence, gender has to be taken into consideration in studies evaluating the relationship between nutrition and metabolic disorders," Tappy told Reuters Health.

How the study was done
Tappy and colleagues enlisted 16 healthy, non-smoking men and women of normal weight and about 23 years of age, to follow two different 6-day diets separated by a 4-week wash-out period.

The 8 men and 8 women did not participate in sports or exercise while following either the "control" diet or the diet that included a lemon-flavoured drink containing 3.5 grams of fructose.

"The fructose load used in this study was quite large (corresponding to several litres of sodas per day)," noted Tappy. He and colleagues tested 12 fasting metabolic parameters the day after participants completed each diet, they report in Diabetes Care.

Less affects on women
In the men, fructose supplementation caused significant increases in 11 of the 12 factors, including a 5 percent increase in fasting glucose and 71 percent increase in triglyceride levels.

By contrast, women showed a 4 percent increase in glucose and a "markedly blunted" 16 percent increase in triglycerides after the high fructose diet, the investigators said. Overall, the women showed significant increases in only 4 of the 12 factors tested.

Further studies should more accurately identify gender differences in metabolic pathways and confirm these observations in a larger population, the investigators note.

"One burning question is whether fructose may have more deleterious effects in individuals at high risk for metabolic disorders," Tappy surmises. – (Joene Hendry/Reuters Health)

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, June 2008.

Read more:
The fructose controversy
Sweet drinks up gout risk

June 2008

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 619 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 7428 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 924 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.