A new study, published in The British Journal of Medicine, argues that fructose in soft drinks can be much more harmful than fructose in solid foods like whole fruit as it increases considerably the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fructose a sugar that is naturally present in a wide variety of food items like fruit, vegetables and honey. It is also an additive in soft drinks, packaged cereals, cakes and desserts in the form of ‘free sugars.’ The research was carried out by a team of scientists from the St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the University of Toronto. They analyzed 155 studies with 5,086 participants. The team investigated the way fructose sugars impacted blood glucose levels in participants with and without diabetes for a period of 12 weeks.
Free sugars in sweetened drinks, on the other hand, are harmful to health and their consumption is to be limited severely. Sweetened or fizzy drinks are nutrient-poor and add up calories, eventually resulting in obesity. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or when the insulin produced is not effectively used by the body. A regular consumption of sweetened drinks, add up the glucose levels in the body and the insulin produced will not be able to take care of the condition.
The study finds that natural fructose has no harmful effects on blood sugar levels when they do not add extra calories. On the contrary, they have positive effects on blood sugar and insulin control, in the case of people affected by diabetes in particular. The reason for this is assumed to be the high fiber content of fruit that slows down the release of sugars. When food is digested and absorbed by the body slowly, the rise in blood sugar and insulin will also remain slow. Dr John Sievenpiper, the lead author of the study said that the findings might help in forming guidelines regarding the food sources of fructose in preventing and managing diabetes.