Dietary Sweeteners Containing Fructose: Overview of a Workshop on the State of the Science1,2

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The occurrence and impact of fructose in the American food supply has garnered much recent attention in the popular press as well as the scientific community. This paper provides an overview of a workshop cosponsored by the International Life Sciences Institute North America and the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, titled “State of the Science on Dietary Sweeteners Containing Fructose.” Papers in the workshop addressed the chemical composition and properties of dietary sweeteners that contain fructose, the sources and amount of fructose in the American diet, and the metabolism of fructose in the human body. Further, the authors of each paper assessed the strength of the existing data linking dietary fructose intake and risk for overweight, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders. The assessment considered factors in study design, including the amount fed, the food form, the length of the study, the characteristics of the subjects, the specific methodology, and other potential confounders including diet. In addition to papers assessing the basic science of fructose, some papers also addressed consumer concern about sugars and fructose in the diet, the way fructose and other sugars are presented in the media, and the resulting confusion of consumers about fructose and other sugars in the diet. The purpose of the papers in the aggregate was to clarify what data exist about fructose and what the gaps are in the data and to help both scientists and consumers understand issues surrounding fructose in the food supply.

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