Mechanism of Insulin Resistance in Metabolic Syndrome Associated with Dietary Fructose

Background

Association of high fructose consumption and various disorders has raised concerns over its short and long run effects in humans. Among such disorders is obesity, whose increasing cases in recent decades is observed to correlate with increased intake of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) [1]. HFCS is a liquid sweetener whose increasing use in food and beverage industry results from various advantages over sucrose, an alternative sweetener that was used predominantly before development of HFCS. Such advantages include its stability in acidic environments, its sourcing from a reliable and abundant raw material – corn – and its ease of storage and usage that requires minimal dilution [2]. Accordingly, many industries in the food and beverage industry, especially the soft drinks industry, transited to use of HFCS from sucrose. However, association of fructose intake with conditions such as obesity [1,3], insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension [3], has presented a challenge to the continued use of HFCS, despite suggestions from other studies  that HFCS’s contribution to overweight and obesity does not differ significantly from that of other energy sources [4]. 

Thesis statement and organization of the paper

Suggestions that excessive intake of fructose (from either sucrose – table sugar – or HFCS) may lead to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes [1, 3, 5], necessitates evaluation of the mechanism via which such a scenario proceeds. This is because preventing type 2 diabetes, which develops following insulin resistance and its effects impairs the quality of life greatly, depends on the knowledge of its etiology. Such knowledge would for instance aid in dietary approaches that decrease the risk of diabetes for at-risk population. Accordingly, the review presented here highlights the mechanisms via which fructose may induce insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome thus becoming a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. The paper tackles this subject in three core sections. These are an introductory part leading to a statement of the purpose, a literature review to establish mechanisms linking fructose intake and development of insulin resistance and a concluding part highlighting the evidence generated from the reviewed literature. Go to literature review.

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