Study Says Fructose Not Likely Contributor to Obesity Epidemic

Fructose is not likely a contributor to the obesity epidemic in the U.S., according to the results of a recent study.

The study, “Food availability of glucose and fat, but not fructose, increased in the US between 1970 and 2009: analysis of USDA food availability data system”, examined the trends in food and nutrient intake from 1970-2009 from data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The authors of the study concluded that, “increased total energy intake, due to increased availability of foods providing glucose (primarily as starch in grains) and fat, to be a significant contributor to increased obesity in the US.”

Specifically, the study showed:

  • Increased fat consumption.  The average consumption of fat increased from 82.2 grams per day in 1970 to 107.9 grams per day in 2009.
  • Increased glucose consumption.  The average consumption of glucose rose from 193.4 grams per day in 1970 to 227.8 grams per day in 2009.
  • Decreased fructose consumption.  Average consumption of fructose was 63.2 grams per day in 1970 and decreased to 62.4 grams per day in 2009.  The highest average intake of fructose occurred in 1999 when Americans were consuming an average of 69.5 grams per day.
  • Increased calorie consumption.  Despite the decrease in fructose intake, the average total energy intake has risen from 2,137 calories per day in 1970 to 2,530 calories in 2009.

Many factors contribute to obesity, such as eating habits (including balance and moderation), exercise and long-term commitment. Obesity is unlikely to be caused by one particular food ingredient such as fructose.