During the study, participants consumed a drink sweetened with different types of sugar. They did so daily for seven weeks. Meanwhile, the control group did not. Drinks consumed contained either fructose, glucose or sucrose. Fructose is naturally found in fruit, honey, agave and many root vegetables. Glucose is a simple sugar that is the body’s preferred carbohydrate energy source and sucrose is table sugar, which is a mix of fructose and glucose.
After the drinks were consumed, researchers used tracers that can be tracked as they move through the body to evaluate how the sugary drinks affected lipid metabolism, or the breakdown or storage of fats for energy.
Participants generally did not consume more calories than before the study. This is because consuming sugary beverages boosted sanitation and decreased calorie intake from other sources. But researchers saw a negative effect resulted from drinking fructose beverages.
“The body’s own fat production in the liver was twice as high in the fructose group as in the glucose group or the control group — and this was still the case more than twelve hours after the last meal or sugar consumption,” Gerber said.
“Our results are a critical step in researching the harmful effects of added sugars and will be very significant for future dietary recommendations,” he concluded.