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September 11, 2013 BY APRIL McCARTHY
Conversion of Glucose To Fructose In The Body Responsible For Obesity and Insulin Resistance


Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine reported that the cause of obesity and insulin resistance may be tied to the fructose your body makes in addition to the fructose you eat.

In recent years the role of added sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup and table sugar (sucrose), has taken center stage as risk factors for obesity and insulin resistance. Numerous studies suggest that the risk from added sugars may be due to the fructose content.

The intake of dietary fructose has increased significantly from 1970 to 2000. There has been a 25% increase in available "added sugars" during this period. The average person has a daily added sugar intake of 79 g (equivalent to 15% of energy intake), approximately half of which was fructose.

The intake of dietary fructose has increased significantly from 1970 to 2000. There has been a 25% increase in available "added sugars" during this period. The average person has a daily added sugar intake of 79 g (equivalent to 15% of energy intake), approximately half of which was fructose.

A the study published in the Sept. 10 edition of Nature Communications, the team led by researchers at the CU School of Medicine reports that fatty liver and insulin resistance may also result from fructose produced in the liver from non-fructose containing carbohydrates.

Fructose can be metabolized by an enzyme that exists in two forms. One form appears to be responsible for causing how fructose causes fatty liver, obesity, and insulin resistance. The other form may actually protect animals from developing these features in response to sugar.

Previous studies have shown that eating too much fructose can induce leptin resistance, a condition that can easily lead to becoming overweight when combined with a high-fat, high-calorie diet.

The study, whose first authors are Miguel Lanaspa, PhD, and Takuji Ishimoto, MD, reported that mice can convert glucose to fructose in the liver, and that this conversion was critical for driving the development of obesity and insulin resistance in mice fed glucose.

A segment of populations in most developed nations appear to be genetically predisposed to high blood insulin and triglyceride levels when consuming diets high in carbohydrate causing abnormal glucose tolerance. Reports indicate that maternal fructose intake may affect a child's endocrinology and glucose tolerance.

"Our data suggests that it is the fructose generated from glucose that is largely responsible for how carbohydrates cause fatty liver and insulin resistance," said Lanaspa.

Richard Johnson, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division of renal diseases and hypertension at the School of Medicine and senior author of the paper, said: "Our studies provide an understanding for why high glycemic foods may increase the risk for obesity and insulin resistance. While some of the weight gain is driven by the caloric content and the effects of stimulating insulin, the ability of high glycemic foods to cause insulin resistance and fatty liver is due in part to the conversion of glucose to fructose inside the body.

"Ironically, our study shows that much of the risk from ingesting high glycemic foods is actually due to the generation of fructose, which is a low glycemic sugar. These studies challenge the dogma that fructose is safe and that it is simply the high glycemic carbohydrates that need to be restricted."

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.

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