In a new study, researchers found that consuming a diet high in sugar fructose might prevent the proper functioning of peoples’ immune systems.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Bristol and elsewhere.
Fructose is commonly found in sugary drinks, sweets, and processed foods and is used widely in food production.
It is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its intake has increased substantially throughout the developed world in recent years.
However, understanding the impact of fructose on the immune system of people who consume it in high levels, has been limited until now.
In the study, the team found that fructose causes the immune system to become inflamed and that process produces more reactive molecules which are linked to inflammation.
Inflammation of this kind can go on to damage cells and tissues and contribute to organs and body systems not working as they should and could lead to disease.
The research also brings a deeper understanding of how fructose could be linked to diabetes and obesity—as low-level inflammation is often associated with obesity.
It also builds on the growing body of evidence available to public health policymakers about the damaging effects of consuming high levels of fructose.
The team says research into different components of the diet can help scientists understand what might contribute to inflammation and disease and what could be best harnessed to improve health and wellbeing.
The study is exciting because it takes us a step further towards understanding why some diets can lead to ill health.
One author of the study is Dr. Nick Jones of Swansea University.
The study is published in Nature Communications.
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