Fructose Hypothesis Fundamentally Flawed
Contradicts Human Studies and Decades of Nutrition Advice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2010

CONTACT: David Knowles
(202) 331-1634

WASHINGTON, DC – An article published in the November 29 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) incorrectly suggests that consumption of ‘excessive’ fructose in the American diet may play a unique role in high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and chronic kidney disease. It is important to note that the authors’ hypothesis, drawn largely from rat and epidemiological studies rather than human trials, fails to take into account the following contrary evidence: 

  • Dietary fructose consumption is in decline in the United States, and has been decreasing for over a decade.  In contrast, the prevalence of the human diseases noted in the article continues to climb.
  • Fructose is a common sweetener found in nature and present in fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, and many caloric sweeteners.  Moreover, humans normally consume fructose in combination with glucose in all these foods and beverages.  There is abundant scientific evidence demonstrating that consuming fructose and glucose together is entirely safe due to the way the body metabolizes these simple sugars in combination.
  • Taken to its logical conclusion, the article seems to suggest that consuming fruits and vegetables at levels that equate to 30% of caloric intake could result in deleterious health consequences.  Such a conclusion directly conflicts with decades of sound nutritional advice.
  • Much of the article’s supporting evidence is not based on human metabolism, but rather on rats that were fed a highly exaggerated and artificial diet consisting of enormous quantities of ‘pure fructose’ – not glucose and fructose in combination at typical levels of consumption.   It is important to note that results from rat studies are not directly applicable to human metabolism.
  • Studies conducted with human subjects consuming table sugar and high fructose corn syrup at typical intake levels consistently return normal range values for important metabolic markers like serum glucose and insulin; appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin; triglycerides and uric acid; and for measured feelings of hunger and satiety.

While obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, renal disease, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease are serious health conditions, it is certainly premature and inappropriate, not to mention potentially misleading, to suggest that simple sugars found in nature, like fructose, are uniquely responsible for these debilitating medical conditions. 

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The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is the national trade association representing the corn refining (wet milling) industry of the United States. CRA and its predecessors have served this important segment of American agribusiness since 1913. Corn refiners manufacture sweeteners, ethanol, starch, bioproducts, corn oil, and feed products from corn components such as starch, oil, protein, and fiber.