Metabolic Impact of High Fructose Corn Syrup Restriction in Obese Children

soda poured into a glass
soda poured into a glass
Restricting consumption of high fructose corn syrup did not appear to improve insulin resistance in obese children.

Food restriction, including restriction of food with high fructose corn syrup, did not induce weight loss or a decrease in insulin resistance in school-age children with obesity, according to research published in Obesity Facts.

A research team from the department of medical sciences at the University of Guanjuato in León, Mexico, examined 54 children with obesity (age: 6 to 11) to determine the impact of high fructose corn syrup restriction on serum glucose, insulin, lipids, leptin, and overall liver health. Participants were limited to <20 g/day consumption of high fructose corn syrup for 6 weeks.

Overall, 80% of the children adhered to the study program, reporting a decrease in high fructose corn syrup consumption from 110±38.6 g/day to 11.4±12.0 g/day.  Significant decreases in caloric intake (2384±568 kcal/day to 1757±387 kcal/day) and carbohydrate consumption (302±80.4 to 203±56.0 g/day) were also noted. In addition, the researchers found no changes in body mass index or systolic or diastolic blood pressure. Markers of insulin resistance also remained the same.

Although 73.1% of participants presented with fatty liver at the beginning of the study, a decrease in liver steatosis was noted following intervention. The researchers noted that the metabolic changes observer were “consistent with expected interactions.”

“[W]e found that fructose restriction was associated with diminution of triglyceride levels and an important diminution of liver steatosis,” the researchers concluded. “However, our results did not show any changes of body weight or insulin resistance, which may be explained by adaptive changes in metabolic expenditure.”

Due to the nature of the study — a non-controlled, non-randomized study in children able to modify their diet — results may not be generalizable to the entire population.

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Del Rocio Ibarra-Reynoso L, Lopez-Lemus HL, Garay-Sevilla MA, Malacara JM. Effect of restriction of foods with high fructose corn syrup content on metabolic indices and fatty liver in obese children [published online August 5, 2017]. Obes Facts. doi:10.1159/000476069