(NaturalNews) In what may be more evidence of the risks of high-fructose corn syrup, researchers from the University of California-Davis have found that consumption of fructose-sweetened drinks appears to raise the body's levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol in a way that glucose-sweetened drinks do not. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Researchers conducted the study on 32 overweight men and women with an average age of 55, who were assigned to one of two intervention groups. All participants lived at a clinical research center for two weeks, where they ate a balanced diet high in complex carbohydrates. During this time, researchers carried out blood tests and measurements of the participants' body fat.
For the following two weeks, all participants lived at home and ate their usual diet, supplemented with a sweetened drink that supplied 25 percent of their calorie intake. Researchers monitored the participants' diets with daily phone calls, and used urine tests to make sure that participants were actually consuming the sugary drinks.
For the next six weeks of the study, participants lived at home and ate their normal diets without the sweetened drinks. For the final two weeks, they returned to the clinic and resumed the diet from the beginning of the study, this time supplemented with the sweetened beverages.
The only difference between the two groups was that in one the sweetened beverage contained glucose, while in the other it contained fructose.
The researchers found that while both groups gained roughly equal amounts of weight, participants who consumed fructose-sweetened beverages gained more weight inside their abdomens, as well as experiencing higher increases in levels of LDL cholesterol. Along with decreases in insulin sensitivity and increases in blood lipids -- both of which were also observed -- these factors characterize a condition known as metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In contrast to table sugar, which contains 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, high-fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose.