Dietary Fructose Impacts Wide Range of Genes in Liver


The negative effects of high-fructose corn syrup have previously been reported in several types of studies.

The negative effects of high-fructose corn syrup have previously been reported in several types of studies. For instance, researchers have reported that those who limit their high-fructose intake can boost their weight loss efforts; that fructose is strongly associated with gout in men. A new University of Illinois study continues to confirm the negative health effects of a diet with large amounts of the sugary substance. Unfortunately, many Americans consume an unhealthy amount of high-fructose corn syrup in their diet, simply because it is prevalent in many soft drinks, protein bars, fruit juices, etc. This high consumption affects “a wide range of genes that had not previously been identified." This is especially troubling, given that many scientists believe that high dietary fructose can lead directly to the development of metabolic syndrome, and, consequently, heart disease and diabetes.

The study was performed by giving 24 rats either a 63% glucose or fructose diet for four hours a day over the span of two weeks. Upon completion of the two weeks, half of the rats fasted for 24 hours, at which point scientists performed a gene expression analysis. The other half were analyzed at the end of a four-hour feeding. Researchers reported that “fructose feeding not only induced a broader range of genes than had previously been identified, there were simultaneous increases in glycogen (stored glucose) and triglycerides in the liver.”

Manabu Nakamura, a University of Illinois associate professor of food science and human nutrition and lead author of the study, explained that “a key regulatory enzyme involved in the breakdown of glucose was about two times higher in the fructose-fed group than in the glucose-fed group,” and also mentioned that the study suggests that a protein called carbohydrate response element binding protein could be responsible for the fructose’s effect on certain genes that trigger the production of fat.

The study authors said they will continue to assess the risk of insulin resistance and the consequent risk of the development of diabetes.

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