Thursday, February 2, 2017

Study: Type of Sugar, Not Just the Amount, Matters in Risk of Diseases


Harmful effects of high sugar consumption are well-documented. Multiple studies discovered that excessive sugar intake increases the risk of a variety of diseases and it’s needless to mention the odds of overweight and obesity elevate as well. Unfortunately, we consume more sugar than it is recommended throughout the day. While the harmful link between sugar intake and poor health is evident, the latest study showed it’s the type of sugar that counts too.


How Does Sugar Type Play a Role?

High intake of simple sugars triggers adverse cardio-metabolic effects. To find out more about this relationship, Gemma Sang├╝esa and a team of scientists at the University of Barcelona decided to carry out a study. The researchers investigated the underlying mechanisms as well as metabolic and vascular effects of fructose and glucose intake. Their goal was to determine whether these particular effects are related to the increased calorie consumption of these sugars.

For the purpose of the research, scientists used rats that were supplemented with glucose or fructose for 2 months. Results, published in the American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology, found that caloric intake was increased in both groups of rats, compared to the control group. Regardless, glucose-fed rats consumed more calories than those that received fructose. That’s not all, insulin signaling in aorta and liver were impaired in both fructose- and glucose-supplemented rats as well. However, the effects of impaired insulin signaling were far more pronounced in animals that received fructose.

Scientists found that fructose supplementation reduced aortic relaxation response to a nitric oxide donor. On the other hand, glucose stimulated it. They concluded the study explaining that although glucose increases calorie intake, fructose contributed to worse vascular and metabolic responses. Plus, fructose group experienced greater weight gain too. These findings only prove that the type of sugar consumed matters in a person’s risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and so on.

Fructose Can Damage Genes, Too

Speaking of fructose, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health discovered that this type of sugar may also do a damage to our genes. The research is the first to examine all gene networks affected by fructose resulting in changes to brain function and metabolism. In fact, more than 20,000 genes are embedded in these networks.

When genes in a person’s brain are disrupted by fructose, a host of health problems are on the horizon. Depression, Parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorder and other brain diseases are all among potential outcomes associated with gene disruption caused by fructose.

Past research revealed that fructose enhances levels of toxic molecules in the brain that damage communication between cells. As a result, excessive intake of fructose e.g. corn syrup could decrease the brain’s learning and memory capacity.

Decreasing Sugar Consumption

It is a well-known fact that high sugar intake leads to increased health risks, which is why it’s always useful to decrease the consumption. Here are some tips that you can use:
  • Reduce intake of sweets and candies
  • Read labels thoroughly
  • Opt for unsweetened products
  • Don’t go cold turkey, do it gradually
  • Try healthy sugar alternatives
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Enhance food flavors with spices and other natural ingredients
  • Eat fresh fruits
  • Avoid store-bought fruit juices and opt for making freshly squeezed ones
Conclusion

Obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and many other health problems are linked to higher sugar consumption. However, it’s not just the intake of sugar that matters in this case. The latest study discovered that type of sugar plays a major role here. More specifically, fructose leads to worse health consequences than glucose.


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