Fructose, a trigger of metabolic disease? – a narrative review

Anja Baumann, Annette Brandt, Ina Bergheim

Worldwide the number of individuals being overweight or obese has dramatically increased during the last decades, which is also associated with a similar dramatic increase of individuals afflicted with metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia, hypertension, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Genetic predisposition may account for some of the increases in body weight and the development of metabolic disorders; however, much is probably also related to the changes in physical activity and dietary pattern. Indeed, results of epidemiological studies suggest that a ‘western-type dietary pattern’ composed of highly processed foods, sweetened foods, and beverages, all adding to a low fiber but high sugar and saturated fat intake, may increase the odd of developing overweight and metabolic disorders. Consumption of sugar, and especially, fructose has repeatedly been discussed to be a key contributor to the development of health disturbances including hypertension, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance as well as NAFLD. However, despite intense research effort, the question if and how (high) dietary fructose intake interferes with human health has not yet been fully answered also as findings are sometimes contradictory. In the present narrative review, results of recent studies assessing the effect of fructose consumption on the development of metabolic disorders including hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), hyperinsulinemia, and NAFLD as well as underlying molecular mechanisms are reviewed, thereby, aiming to further address the question if (high) fructose intake is a trigger of metabolic diseases.

Department für Ernährungswissenschaften
Exploration of Digestive Diseases
ÖFOS 2012
303009 Ernährungswissenschaften
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