Top Medics Confirm Fructose Is Major Cause Of Type 2 Diabetes

| March 12, 2015

I have been saying it in The Real Diabetes Truth for years – sugar (and fructose in particular) is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Mainstream medicine and the diabetes organisations who toe the conventional line don’t agree. Both Diabetes UK and the American Diabetes Association talk about the ‘myth’ that sugar causes diabetes, while the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s latest report concluded that there is no link between sugar consumption and type 2 diabetes incidence. But now they may have to eat their words.

Leading clinical experts in America have stood up to be counted in challenging the official guidelines and presenting irrefutable evidence that added fructose – in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup – is a principal driver of type 2 diabetes and its complications.1 Naturally-occurring fructose in fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, does not have these damaging effects. The clinicians cite no less than 125 research papers that support their argument, making a nonsense of the mainstream bleat that ‘more research is needed’.

Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of two chemically distinct sugars, glucose and fructose. Only the glucose part has a direct effect on blood sugar (blood glucose) levels, so for years it was assumed that fructose was OK for diabetics to consume. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As I explained here, high consumption of added fructose leads to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, furred up arteries, a fatty liver and excess body fat. Study after scientific study has demonstrated the dreadful consequences that added fructose has for our health.

These studies were not confined to laboratory rats and mice; many of them were human clinical trials in which wheat starch (which is digested to only glucose) was replaced by table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (glucose plus fructose). The combined results of these trials showed that replacing glucose-only starch with fructose-containing sucrose results in significant damage in the body, which increases in proportion to the amount of added fructose in the diet.

The clinical experts consider there is compelling evidence that added sugar, and especially added fructose (usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar), are a serious and growing public health problem. They believe that current levels of sugar consumption and fructose consumption in particular – in concentrations and contexts not seen in natural whole foods – are fuelling a worsening worldwide epidemic of type 2 diabetes.

Industry-funded studies give biased results

So how come the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which also considered all the evidence, didn’t come to the same conclusion? Well, “follow the money” was a catchphrase from the film All The President’s Men (about the Watergate scandal) – and it applies here, too. Sugar means big money for the food industry, in part due to its addictive properties, so any industry-funded research is unlikely to admit that it’s unhealthy. And it’s not just me who has a suspicious mind about this.

Recently, a group of Spanish and German scientists looked at whether industry funding or researchers’ conflicts of interest influence the outcomes of systematic reviews into sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity. They found five out of six such sponsored reviews concluded there was no link between sugar consumption and obesity. Reviews that were independent of industry funding and where the researchers had no conflicts of interest went the other way – five out of six in this group concluded that drinking sugary beverages was indeed a risk factor for weight gain. Like Big Pharma, Big Food has ways of muddying the water and obscuring the truth in order to line its own pockets; and the health of the nation is the last thing on its mind.

While there is a mass of scientific evidence showing that eating sugar, and fructose in particular, is an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes (as well as for heart disease, cancer and a host of other health problems), at present the conventional line is that sugar is only related to diabetes because it encourages weight gain. Being overweight or obese is certainly a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and if you believe the popular press you might think it is the biggest one. But new research has shown that, alongside sugar intake, another factor is far more important – it is your level of vitamin D. I shall be returning to this subject in my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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  1. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Lucan SC. Added fructose: a principal driver of type 2 diabetes mellitus and its consequences. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 Jan 26 (Online ahead of print). 
  1. Bes-Rastrollo M, Schulze MB, Ruiz-Canela M, Martinez-Gonzalez MA. Financial conflicts of interest and reporting bias regarding the association between sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review of systematic reviews. PLoS Med. 2013; 10(12):e1001578.
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