No Differential Effect of Beverages Sweetened with Fructose, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, or Glucose on Systemic or Adipose Tissue Inflammation in Normal-Weight to Obese Adults

A new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reports that consumption of beverages sweetened with glucose, fructose, or high-fructose corn syrup (HCFS) do not promote inflammation or gut permeability.

Researchers have hypothesized that systemic inflammation increases risk for development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in obese individuals. Similarly, increased intestinal permeability is thought to contribute to low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance by allowing some inflammatory compounds to cross the gut wall. Thus, researchers sought to determine if there is a relationship between fructose consumption and acute inflammation.

During the study, 24 participants were provided with a standardized, American diet, tailored to their specific caloric needs. Study participants then consumed their standardized, American diet and each of the three varieties of beverages sweetened with fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, or glucose for 8 days during 3 different phases of the study.  Researchers then looked at markers of inflammation and gut permeability in samples of blood or fat cells from the participants.

The researchers failed to find any evidence of inflammation in the blood or in the fat cells of participants. Moreover, researchers found no proof of increased intestinal permeability. The results of this study support the existing literature that, in humans, fructose, HCFS, or glucose containing beverages do not contribute to systemic inflammation or increased risk for chronic disease when people consume similar amounts of total calories.