Fructose has long been considered one of the causes of the obesity crisis across the world. But a new study from researchers in Canada finds that might not be true.
Fructose is a natural sugar that is found in honey, fruit and vegetables. It is also added to a bevy of products like breads, pastries, and condiments. Since the 1970’s fructose has been related to obesity, especially once high-fructose corn syrup was introduced to consumers.
Scientists at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto believe our daily living habits are just as liable for weight gain as fructose is.
Dr. John Sievenpiper, lead researcher and physician at St Michael’s Hospital, examined more than 40 past studies on the link between fructose and obesity. They learned that the sweetener had no impact on weight gain, compared to diets that provided identical calories from other carbohydrates.
“Fructose may not be to blame for obesity,” said Sievenpiper. “ It may just be calories from any food source. Over-consumption is the issue.”
Although some of the subjects in the past studies gained weight after adding fructose to their diet, researchers attributed the weight increase to the extra calories in the fructose, and not the fructose itself.
“You could plot almost anything on the same graph — computer face time, driving cars, the daily suburbanization of the population, more sedentary behaviors, and probably find an equal parallels, or even better fit with the overweight and obesity epidemic,” he said
Historically, fructose has been known to raise blood pressure, provide resistance to needed insulin and cause obesity, however, Sievenpiper and his team conducted their own study to further examine these initial findings.
After reviewing 41 trials of 756 study participants, the researchers confirmed that fructose had no significant effect on weight gain when compared to diets that had the same number of calories using non-fructose carbohydrates.
Although the research team found the results of the study insightful, they believe that a longer study is needed, with more participants, to fully understand the correlation between fructose and obesity.
“But in the absence of that, we think our study provides the highest level evidence of the best estimate of fructose’s effect on body weight,” said Sievenpiper.