An article published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Investigation looked at that difference between fructose-sweetened drinks and glucose-sweetened drinks. Think American Coca-Cola (sweetened with high fructose corn syrup) versus Mexican Coca-Cola (sweetened with sugar).
Although both are sweet, our bodies metabolize (process) the substances differently. The study in JCI examines these outcomes.
Through a double-blind test, two groups consumed either fructose-sweetened beverages or glucose-sweetened beverages for over 2 months.
Without jumping too deep into the study’s text (it’s very dense), the novel finding (copy/pasted verbatim) is this:
The increase in VAT in subjects consuming fructose and the increase in the expression of lipogenic genes in SAT in subjects consuming glucose suggest that fructose and glucose have differential effects on regional adipose distribution.
Essentially, weight gain was similar for both groups, but more adipose tissue (fat) was created among fructose-consumers. Additionally, insulin sensitivity significantly decreased for the fructose group (this is where childhood diabetes comes in).
An article in Times Online does a great job summarizing the findings:
Over 10 weeks, 16 volunteers on a strictly controlled diet, including high levels of fructose, produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs. They also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease. Another group of volunteers on the same diet, but with glucose sugar replacing fructose, did not have these problems.
People in both groups put on a similar amount of weight. However, researchers at the University of California who conducted the trial, said the levels of weight gain among the fructose consumers would be greater over the long term
What can we take away from this study? If you are going to drink a soda, make it one with sugar.