Contributed by Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS
Caloric intake is not the only important nutritional factor for a healthy diet. Macronutrient composition, otherwise known as the carbohydrate, protein, and fat makeup of a food, can also have a direct influence on the quality of your diet. Recent in vivo research suggests that it may go even further, that different types of sugar may have vastly different effects on health outcomes.
In a recent experimental study, researchers examined the effects of glucose (what carbohydrates are broken down into in your body) and fructose (commonly referred to as “fruit sugar,” but also the primary sweeter in most processed foods, in the form of high fructose corn syrup) on weight and other metrics of health.1 Over an eight-week period, along with their normal diet, study groups had their daily intake supplemented with different water solutions: two research groups received solutions sweetened with either 20% glucose or fructose, while the control group received simply water.
Due to the added sugar, both research groups consumed more calories than the control group, and the glucose group had the highest intake overall. At the conclusion, weight was measured and blood was tested to determine lipid metabolism, insulin signaling, and vascular responses. Despite less overall caloric intake, the fructose group experienced the most significant health outcomes. Along with gaining the most weight, the fructose group also showed greater increases in blood lipid levels, blood pressure, signs of fatty liver disease, and disruptions in normal insulin response. Further research is needed to determine the mechanism behind the variance in outcomes.
While we should all be aware of our total energy and sugar intake, the type of sugar we consume may also play a part in determining the consequences of our dietary decisions. These new findings suggest that foods high in fructose, specifically highly processed foods, may pose a greater threat to our health than sugars provided by other sources of carbohydrates.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary and further research is needed to gain greater understanding of the findings. Some articles offer multiple views on general health topics and are not the official position of doTERRA. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to diet or exercise.