|It's incredible... for some, but probably not unexpected for most of us that fructose becomes problematic in overfeeding scenarios, only.|
The main goal of the corresponding paper that has been published in the Atherosclerosis earlier this months (Wang. 2014) was to identify and analyze all clinical interventions that investigated the chronic effect of exchanging isocaloric or hypercaloric oral fructose for a reference carbohydrate on postprandial triglycerides.
Update - Coca Cola & Co buy a white slate for their sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB): Shortly after publishing my analysis of the meta-analysis, I hit onto a more recent review that deals with sugar sweetened beverages and the influence sponsors from the industry have on the outcome of corresponding studies and, more importantly (since easier to be biased) reviews. While the main finding of Bes-Rastrollo's et al.'s analysis is that there is a 5x higher likelihood of SSBs being portrayed as benign, when reviews are financed by the industry, the editor of PLoS|One Medicine rightly points out that "[a] major limitation of the study at hand is however that it cannot assess which interpretation of the available evidence is truly accurate" and that "scientists involved in the systematic reviews that reported having no conflict of interest may have had preexisting prejudices that affected their interpretation of their findings". In other words, financed and non-financed research are both biased" (Editorial published with Bes-Rastrollo. 2013 | learn more).The scientists included ony human trials and the deadline on which they stopped looking for new studies was September 3, 2013. In other words: Wang et al. don't bother us with rodent data with questionable relevance (e.g. rodents on 70% fructose diets) and they include almost alll studies in their review that have been published in the last couple of most... well, assuming they were available on MEDLINE, EMBASE, and in the Cochrane databases and complied to the following criteria:
It's also important that you realize that meta-analysis such as the one at hand are less prone to bias, than regular reviews (including those of Internet celebrity scientists ;-). This is particularly true, when they are conduced according to the strict criteria of the Cochrane Collaboration (something that applies to Wang et al's analysis). If the you want to pick the results of the meta-analysis at hand apart, you will thus have to (a) prove that they deliberately ignored studies although those complied to the inclusion criteria (selection bias) or (b) that important studies that have been included were so biased that the overall result of the meta-analysis (which is mostly math) gets skewed.
|Don't forget: Nobel Laureate Peter Higgs worked with the method on the right: Conclusion first: "There is a boson that mediates gravitational forces" ➲ Years of research: "Heureka!"|
"We included clinical interventions that investigated the chronic effect of exchanging isocaloric or hypercaloric oral fructose for a reference carbohydrate on postprandial triglycerides in humans. Comparisons were considered “isocaloric”if oral fructose in the fructose arm was exchanged for the reference carbohydrate in the control arm in an iso-energetic and iso-glucidic manner and“hypercaloric” if the oral fructose in the fructose arm was provided as a supplement to the background diet providing excess energy (E) relative to the background diet alone in the control arm. Trials with less than 7 days follow-up, which lacked an adequate carbohydrate control, or administered IV-fructose were excluded" (Wang. 2014)It's quite funny to see how the 1259 initial hits were decimated in the review process with 111 being identified as duplicates, 270 not being having human, but hairier subjects, 54 being only case studies, 2 being letters in disguise, 280 papers being reviews, 233 papers having only a general CHO arm, 71 studies with intravenous administration, 127 studies with "unsuitable endpoints" (e.g. measuring the effect on exercise performance), 61 having a study duration < 7 days and two simply being irretrievable in full-text form.
Now you may be asking yourselves, why I am bothering you with this!? Right? Well, firstly, I want to give yo an idea of how painful it is to write an objective review of the literature. I realized the same only recently, when I compiled the True or False item on dairy induced reductions in testosterone and its possible carcinogenicity. Secondly mentioning the fact that 1211 articles were excluded in the 1st and 48 articles in the 2nd phase of the review process may help silencing all the fructose haters who read this and consider it the work of diabolical cherry pickers, who have received grants from the devil, i.e. the Coca-Cocal Company and a whole host of other usual and unusual suspects, in the past (read the long list of "competing interests" and don't forget that the study at hand was not funded by any high fructose corn-syrup interest group).
A note on potential bias: As I have pointed out numerous times, already. A "competing interest" is no reason to discard the results of a paper / review altogether. Especially in the case of the latter, you should yet carefully evaluate the scientists interpretation of the reviewed literature, because - consciously or not - those interpretations may well be influenced and the corresponding conclusions biased by a researchers' basic assumptions. Unbiased research is - and I am sorry to say that - an illusion that's never going to manifest in the real world; and that's true irrespective of funding / research grants (Schulz. 1995).While I do hope t hat I am not implying we were talking about scientific fraud here, you should still keep in mind that information Sievenkemper, who is the "correspond author", i.e. the media guy among the 15 scientists from 12 research institutes in Canada, gave Leslie Shepherd, the author of the the initially mentioned press release (Shepherd. 2013), is not some sort of objectively measured truth (there are philosophers of science who question such a thing does even exist).
"[F]uctose doesn’t behave any differently than other refined carbohydrates. The increases you see are when fructose provides extra calories." (Sievenkemper in Shepherd. 2013)The above is his (and his colleagues) professional opinion, of which I seriously doubt that it was consciously influenced by previous research grants or the current financial support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Calorie Control Council that funded the study at hand.
|Effects of hypercaloric diet (+50%) w/ 30% fructose content on triglyceride production and clearance in healthy subjects in the presence and absence of exercise (Egli. 2013)|Complete results (Wang. 2014)
- overweight / obese: 0.69 [0.20, 1.19] *; weight: 6.8%
- diabetes: 0.00 [-0.15, 014]; weight: 55.4%
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- Bes-Rastrollo M, Schulze MB, Ruiz-Canela M, Martinez-Gonzalez MA (2013) 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 10(12): e1001578.
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- Shepherd, L. (2013) Researchers say fructose does not impact emerging indicator for cardiovascular disease. St. Michael's | Newsroom | Our News. < http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/media/detail.php?source=hospital_news/2013/20131230_hn > retrieved on Jan. 01 2014.
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- David Wang, D., Sievenpiper, J. L., de Souza, R. J., Cozma, A. I., Chiavaroli, L., Ha, V., ... & Jenkins, D. J. (2014). Effect of fructose on postprandial triglycerides: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials. Atherosclerosis, 232(1), 125-133.