Download Full Text (514 KB)

Document Type



The incidence of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and combination of symptoms classified as “metabolic syndrome” that eventually leads to type 2 diabetes have risen dramatically over the past few decades. The current dietary guidelines that advised patients to avoid dietary fats were originally developed in the 1960’s. This led the way for food manufacturers to remove fats in processed foods and replace them with sugars, particularly fructose. At the time there was no clinical trial data that definitively supported these guidelines.

The increased use of fructose as a food additive has dramatically increased the per-capita consumption of this sugar. More recent research has found that the unique structural and metabolic differences of fructose as compared to glucose lead to specific pathophysiologic changes in the body that promote obesity, hypertension, atherosclerosis, dyslipidemia and glucose intolerance. Other studies have also found that consumption of certain fats may be beneficial and protective, actually preventing some of the previously mentioned conditions.

It is evident that fructose consumption, as compared to glucose or fat consumption, leads to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome in the population. New dietary guidelines, strategies, and changes to food production are necessary to combat this problem, however the reversal of rules that have been in place for decades will be difficult and take many years. Therefore, to have the most impact, patient education needs to start at the primary care level.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Daryl Sieg

Publication Date



Fructose -- adverse effects; Cardiovascular Diseases -- etiology; Metabolic Diseases -- etiology


Cardiovascular Diseases | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases

Fructose and its Contribution to Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Syndrome