Carbohydrates and Health

The mean annual consumption of sucrose plus fructose in developed countries is about 25% of the caloric intake. Fructose is more lipogenic than glucose. This high intake of sucrose (approximately 50 kg/year/person) has been contentiously implicated in influencing the health of humans, apart from caries, because a high consumption of sucrose/fructose in experimental animals (often rats) creates, among other things, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance, hypertension, and diabetic-like tissue lesions (66). However, while a hyperlipidemic effect of sucrose and fructose has been demonstrated in a number of human studies, firm conclusions cannot be made because of great variations in the type of subjects, duration of intake, background diet, and study conditions ( 66). The general conclusion of an FDA-sponsored survey published in 1986 was that the present voluntary intake of sucrose and fructose is not harmful to humans ( 67). A more recent review, while accepting that the intake of sucrose was not a problem in normal individuals, suggested care when dealing with individuals with hypertriglyceridemia ( 68).

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