Drinking sweetened beverages may put you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes more than consuming foods that contain fructose, a naturally occurring sugar, according to a new Canadian study.
Researchers from the University of Toronto, Canada, combined data from more than 150 studies, including more than 5,000 individuals.
They specifically looked at the effect of different food sources containing fructose on blood glucose levels. The effect of the different foods was studied on people with and without diabetes for 12 weeks.
What they found is that fructose-containing sugars in most food sources do not have a harmful effect on glycemic control in energy-matched substitutions for other macronutrients.
However, they found that sweetened drinks add excess ‘nutrient poor’ energy to diets that may have harmful effects.
The authors also say that fruit and fruit juice, which do not provide excess calories “may have beneficial effects on blood glucose and insulin control, especially in people with diabetes, whereas several foods that add excess “nutrient poor” energy to the diet, especially sweetened drinks, seem to have harmful effects.”
Limitations of the study include small sample sizes, short follow-up periods, and a limited variety of foods in some studies.
“Until more information is available, public health professionals should be aware that harmful effects of fructose sugars on blood glucose seem to be mediated by energy and food source,” the authors conclude.