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The study which is the most detailed research paper on the issue to date also tries to assess the health risks of fructose on the long run.
Dr. Frank Hu, senior researcher involved in the study and nutrition expert at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained that we usually consume fructose from sucrose and fructose-containing corn syrup. People rarely consume raw fructose. And we often find fructose in sweetened drinks.
High fructose corn syrup replaced sucrose in sugary drinks and foods decades ago because it is easier to obtain and more convenient. In the U.S., people usually get their daily dose of added sugar from soft drinks.
According to a recent study, half of the population in the U.S. consumes soft drinks on a daily basis. Moreover, 25 percent of Americans get at least 200 calories from those drinks every day, while five percent of Americans get more than 500 calories from the drinks daily.
Dr. Hu said that the findings are ‘concerning’ because past studies linked obesity and diabetes with drinks that contain added sugar. Hu explained that drinking those beverages every day is a formula for weight gain because liquid calories cannot help you feel full for long. In order not to gain weight, people who regularly drink soft drinks should trim their daily calorie intake from food, which they rarely do.
According to the recent review paper, one or a couple of servings of sugary drinks per day boost risk of type 2 diabetes by 26 percent, hikes risk of heart attack and life-threatening heart conditions by 35 percent, and ups by 16 percent the odds to have a stroke.
During their study, researchers sifted through data on fructose, as well, and its impacts on health and weight.
Dr Hu said that fructose is not metabolized like glucose is within our bodies. While glucose is easily absorbed in our gut and taken into the bloodstream from where insulin picks it up and transports it to our cells as fuel, fructose is metabolized by the liver.
The liver converts insulin into triglycerides which can raise cholesterol levels, risk of fatty liver disease, and risk of type 2 diabetes acquired through insulin resistance. Triglycerides also play a key role in cardiovascular disease and promote inflammation.
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