Monday, February 23, 2009

Fructose and triglycerides

Here's another interesting anti fructose snippet.

Slowly, slowly a tiny step at a time. The strange thing is that these people probably think it's the triglycerides that kill you. Probably their next step is to theorise that if they just had a drug to stop apples raising triglyceride levels you could eat that apple without raising your risk of a heart attack. But what if it's the fructose per se that is the problem and the trigs are just a marker of how much fructose you have eaten? The apple hates you for eating it and it will have its revenge.



toddhargrove said...


I'd be interested in your take on the recent paleo diet trial, described in detail at Eades' site as well as Stephan's. The diet very quickly reduced insulin levels and other markers of health in healthy subjects. One interesting thing was that they seemed to eat quite alot of carbs, most of whch appeared to be fruit (see Eades' site for the breakdown of what they ate.) Does this study tend to lessen your concerns regarding fructose?

Charles R. said...


This study has been getting some press lately, mainly with headlines along the lines of "Even short-term high-fat diets cause increased inflammation!";jsessionid=JjdJn5LvfQVpklmG40dnQ2Rbj1ngGpmDhGtQk2Jl3hTX5LmkQ0lr!-858031623!181195628!8091!-1

I can't get the full text of the article to see what kind of fats were fed. Can you?

Peter said...

Hi Charles,

You just need the press release from here.

The relevant line being:

"Weintraub adds that the diet fed to the mouse models was not unlike the diets consumed by many Americans"

So this is a sucrose/HFCS based high fat diet! Probably not worth paying for the article, you can guess what it's going to say.

Todd, the diet included lean meat, canola oil, mayo and a few other oddities if I remember correctly from Stephan's comments. A weird idea of paleo but streets ahead of the AHA and ADA homicide diets. There is undoubtedly some tolerance of fructose or fruit by humans but I still giggle through the adds in the middle of the Simpsons for toothpastes to cure the acid erosion of teeth caused by healthy fruit juices. I just feel that something which eats your teeth and fattens your liver needs to be treated with respect and marked circumspection. Maybe hormesis applies, maybe it's all bad, maybe antioxidants will make it good. Once people are eating paleo generally we can then start to look at what level of fruit, if any, is healthiest, but there's a way to go before we get on to such subtleties...


David said...


Quote from the article: "Triglycerides are manufactured by the body from dietary fat..." Huh? Everything I've read on trigs is related to consumption of carbs... are you able to explain this statement? Is this correct?


Peter said...

Hi David,

Well the article has to be written by a set of idiots otherwise they wouldn't be considering fructose induced increases in triglycerides as a novel and publishable finding. But if people at this level of literature un-awareness are noticing the correct link there is hope that eventually the current dietary opinion leaders might be replaced by sentient beings as they die off. You've just got to wait it out and keep reading the literature for yourself!


BTW people on zero carb diets have low normal trigs, so some must come from dietary fat, but that's hardly what Dr Teff is thinking of! Actually the diagram from Krauss shows dietary fats end up in IDL and large LDLs. Probably fasting IDLs might be classed as trigs...

JohnN said...

"Triglycerides are manufactured by the body from dietary fat..."

To me, this statement seems true enough. The implicit assumption that dietary fat creates the high level of circulating TG needs to be examined more carefully. If your glucagon level is low (carb eating that induces high insulin) your TG will be just floating around not being broken down as fuel. Fructose would just exacebate this problem.

The standard (fasting) blood test should show glucose and TG at opposite levels for high-carb vs high-fat diets. The main fuel used by the body will naturally be at the fasting level (low) in the morning while the opposite occurs for the othe fuel. What do you think the levels would be post-prandial?

"The apple hates you for eating it and it will have its revenge."

The apple needs some animal (either bird or human will do) to scatter its seeds with its flesh as the reward. In the temperate zone where apple grows, it's the season before winter where the fruit ripens - just in time for fat storage.

What the apple hates anthropomorphically is the relentless human selection that gives rise to the grotesque size and fructose content of its fruit.

Peter said...


"What the apple hates anthropomorphically is the relentless human selection that gives rise to the grotesque size and fructose content of its fruit"

Amen. I failed to voice anything like as neat a sentiment.


Ace said...

Great blog. What effect does caffeine have on your energy level? I've heard caffeine clears triglycerides from the blood. However, I've also heard that it increases net triglycerides...

Also, I'm curious why you said you try to avoid ketosis? There are lots of well-supported positive effects from ketosis, and no negatives that I'm aware of. Positives include things like brain function, exercise endurance, the ability to function well with lower blood glucose, etc.

rdfeinman said...

What we know well is that reducing carbohydrates reduces triglycerides as well as having other effects. How much of this is due to total carbohydrate and how much to the specific effect of fructose? Well, if you start with a high carbohydrate diet and add fructose vs. glucose on top of that, is that really a good experiment? It seems the correct experiment is to reduce carbohydrate, reducing glucose in one group and reducing fructose in another and see if, as they say, it is the total carbohydrate, or fructose. Of course, then you will have to consider that low carb is a good thing. I think the NIH would not fund such a study but I will try to find out.

Peter said...

Hi Richard,

I think that one of the things which has struck me about LC eating is the whole raft of uncontrolled variables involved. On the average LC diet is it the drop in glucose, fructose, gluten or fibre which produces the metabolic improvements? Are the effects direct or mediated through the intestinal microbiota? What about the addition of bulk fat, mostly saturated? Or the avoidance of trans fats if LC also involves a switch to eating real food? What about the increase in both cholesterol and choline intake if you go for a high egg intake?

I'm fortunate I don't have many of the answers. Plenty of questions though...


Peter said...


Sorry I missed this ages ago: Caffeine still "works". I use it early evenings when I'm sleep deprived (all the time at the moment!). Other than that I can take it or leave it.

I don't eat to ketogenic levels of carbohydrate restriction but tend to become markedly ketotic post prandially, rather than when I am fasting. I'm guessing this is MCT related due to the large dairy fat intake.

A few ketones are always useful...

Re trigs, I don't much care. I consider the damage is probably done by what you do to increase trigs rather than the trigs themselves.