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Fructose: Sugar's Dark Side?

Study: Fructose Increases Heart Risk Factors -- and Weight

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"Most people get the majority of the added sugars in their diet from beverages," Havel tells WebMD. "We saw a lot of changes happen in just two weeks of drinking these beverages -- and in real life, people don't do this just for two or 10 weeks but as a lifelong habit. They are potentially exposing themselves to cardiovascular risk."

The news may be worse. Stanhope says that preliminary data from new studies show that regular sugar and high-fructose corn syrup each seem to have the same effect as fructose alone -- even though both are only about half fructose and half glucose (normal corn syrup is 100% glucose).

It's still far too early to draw any conclusions from the new study. But Stanhope says it's unlikely anybody is going to apply the health-food label to sweetened soft drinks.

"It doesn't look like a good idea to drink a lot of soft drinks," Stanhope tells WebMD. "We were feeding people at the rate of three sodas a day. Some do drink that much, some people in real life do more, and some have only one a day. Give me two years, and we will know a lot more about the safe level."

Stanhope reported the findings at the American Diabetes Association's 67th Annual Scientific Sessions, held June 22-26 in Chicago.

  • Can’t get moving without your daily dose of cola? If you knew that giving up that sweet addiction could ward off diabetes, could you do it? Tell us about it on WebMD's Health Cafe message board.

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