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Fructose study shows gender differences in metabolism

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NEW YORK A new report has shown that men and women appear to differ in how they metabolize high levels of the sugar fructose, according to Reuters. Women appear to metabolize the sugar in a less harmful way, researchers found.

Short-term high fructose intake among young men resulted in increased blood triglycerides and decreased insulin resistance, factors associated with an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, reported Luc Tappy and colleagues.

Tappy and colleagues enlisted 16 healthy, nonsmoking men and women of normal weight and about 23 years of age, to follow two different 6-day diets separated by a 4-week wash-out period. The 8 men and 8 women did not participate in sports or exercise while following either the “control” diet or the diet that included a lemon-flavored drink containing 3.5 grams of fructose.

“The fructose load used in this study was quite large (corresponding to several liters of sodas per day),” noted Tappy. He and colleagues tested 12 fasting metabolic parameters the day after participants completed each diet, they report in Diabetes Care.

In the men, fructose supplementation caused significant increases in 11 of the 12 factors, including a 5 percent increase in fasting glucose and 71 percent increase in triglyceride levels.

By contrast, women showed a 4 percent increase in glucose and a “markedly blunted,” 16 percent increase in triglycerides after the high fructose diet, the investigators said. Overall, the women showed significant increases in only 4 of the 12 factors tested.

The researchers concluded that more studies would have to be done with a larger group of people to identify gender differences in metabolic pathways.

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