By RACHEL FERREIRAUCHIThe rise in sugar consumption and obesity in the United States has prompted a renewed focus on the health risks of sugary drinks.
In a new study, researchers found that sugar and other high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can help the body break down fats, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost blood pressure.
The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The authors said that HFCS consumption may play a role in a number of chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity.
The researchers also found that the consumption of sugared beverages increased the risk of heart disease, but not in all of them.
The study looked at the consumption levels of high-FODMAP foods, such as brown rice, beans, lentils, corn, sugar, and corn syrup.
The most commonly consumed foods included whole grains, potatoes, and legumes, while the least commonly consumed were white bread, brown rice and soybeans.
“Our findings suggest that consumption of HFCs may have an impact on obesity and metabolic disease,” study author Mark Kriegel, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.
“The consumption of high fructose corn syrup may also have an influence on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average American consumes about 3,200 teaspoons of HCFS per year.
A teaspoon is equal to about 8 ounces.
The amount of fructose in the drinks that the researchers analyzed varied widely.
The researchers used a sugar content of 5 percent by volume, which is the equivalent of a cup of sugar.
The sugars in HFCSRs ranged from 2.5 percent to 5.4 percent fructose, while those in sugarless drinks ranged from 1.5 to 5 percent fructose.
In addition to the potential health effects of fructose, sugar also contains a number other chemicals, including the hormone formaldehyde.”HFCs and formaldehyde are found naturally in food, and they are present in many foods, but HFCSM is most prevalent in sugar-sweetened beverages,” said lead researcher Dr. Rachel Ferreirauchi, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health.
“These chemicals may interact with the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and contribute to obesity and diabetes.”
The authors cautioned that they did not know if HFCSP consumption would continue to increase.
“This is a large study that has only been conducted on a very small number of individuals,” FerreIraucha said.
“We need more research to identify the mechanisms underlying these associations and to determine how much HFC is really beneficial.”
For more news, visit Reuters Health.