Consuming Sucrose-or HFCS-sweetened Beverages Increases Hepatic Lipid and Decreases Insulin Sensitivity in Adults

Desiree M. Sigala, Bettina Hieronimus, Valentina Medici, Vivien Lee, Marinelle V. Nunez, Andrew Bremer, Chad L. Cox, Candice A. Price, Yanet Benyam, Abhijit J. Chaudhari, Yasser Abdelhafez, John P. Mcgahan, Michael I. Goran, Claude B. Sirlin, Giovanni Pacini, Andrea Tura, Nancy L Keim, Peter J. Havel, Kimber L. Stanhope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Context: Studies in rodents and humans suggest that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-sweetened diets promote greater metabolic dysfunction than sucrose-sweetened diets. Objective: To compare the effects of consuming sucrose-sweetened beverage (SB), HFCS-SB, or a control beverage sweetened with aspartame on metabolic outcomes in humans. Methods: A parallel, double-blinded, NIH-funded study. Experimental procedures were conducted during 3.5 days of inpatient residence with controlled feeding at a research clinic before (baseline) and after a 12-day outpatient intervention period. Seventy-five adults (18-40 years) were assigned to beverage groups matched for sex, body mass index (18-35 kg/m2), and fasting triglyceride, lipoprotein and insulin concentrations. The intervention was 3 servings/day of sucrose- or HFCS-SB providing 25% of energy requirement or aspartame-SB, consumed for 16 days. Main outcome measures were %hepatic lipid, Matsuda insulin sensitivity index (ISI), and Predicted M ISI. Results: Sucrose-SB increased %hepatic lipid (absolute change: 0.6 ± 0.2%) compared with aspartame-SB (-0.2 ± 0.2%, P < 0.05) and compared with baseline (P < 0.001). HFCS-SB increased %hepatic lipid compared with baseline (0.4 ± 0.2%, P < 0.05). Compared with aspartame-SB, Matsuda ISI decreased after consumption of HFCS- (P < 0.01) and sucrose-SB (P < 0.01), and Predicted M ISI decreased after consumption of HFCS-SB (P < 0.05). Sucrose- and HFCS-SB increased plasma concentrations of lipids, lipoproteins, and uric acid compared with aspartame-SB. No outcomes were differentially affected by sucrose-compared with HFCS-SB. Beverage group effects remained significant when analyses were adjusted for changes in body weight. Conclusion: Consumption of both sucrose- and HFCS-SB induced detrimental changes in hepatic lipid, insulin sensitivity, and circulating lipids, lipoproteins and uric acid in 2 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3248-3264
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • insulin sensitivity
  • lipids
  • liver fat
  • sucrose
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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