Added sugars and risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart disease


The effects of added sugars on various chronic conditions are highly controversial. Some investigators have argued that added sugars increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, few randomized controlled trials are available to support these assertions. The literature is further complicated by animal studies, as well as studies which compare pure fructose to pure glucose (neither of which is consumed to any appreciable degree in the human diet) and studies where large doses of added sugars beyond normal levels of human consumption have been administered. Various scientific and public health organizations have offered disparate recommendations for upper limits of added sugar. In this article, we will review recent randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. We conclude that the normal added sugars in the human diet (for example, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup and isoglucose) when consumed within the normal range of normal human consumption or substituted isoenergetically for other carbohydrates, do not appear to cause a unique risk of obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

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This article is based on a symposium entitled ‘Sweeteners and Health: Findings from Recent Research and their Impact on Obesity and Related Metabolic Conditions’ presented at the 22nd European Congress on Obesity, Prague, on 7 May 2015 with sponsorship from Rippe Lifestyle Institute.

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Correspondence to J M Rippe.

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Competing interests

JMR and Rippe's research laboratory have received unrestricted grants and JMR has received consulting fees from ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods, Florida, Department of Citrus, PepsiCo International, The Coca Cola Company, Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, Corn Refiners Association, Weight Watchers International as well as royalties and editorial office support from CRC Press, Sage Publishing and Springer Publishers. The remaining author (TJA) declares no conflict of interest.

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This article is based on a presentation at a symposium entitled ‘Sweeteners and Health: Findings from Recent Research and their Impact on Obesity and Related Metabolic Conditions’ held at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) on 7 May 2015. This symposium was supported, in part, by an educational grant from Rippe Lifestyle Institute.

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Rippe, J., Angelopoulos, T. Added sugars and risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Int J Obes 40, S22–S27 (2016).

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