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Episode 13 - What happens to fructose-fed monkeys?

by Break Nutrition | Podcast

Short summary: In episode 13 Gabor and I review a 2011 study looking at the metabolic consequences of rhesus monkeys being fed a grain-based diet supplemented with 500mL of fructose loaded Kool-Aid a day over a year.

Show notes:

  • The study: Fructose-Fed Rhesus Monkeys: A Nonhuman Primate Model of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes (Bremer et al. 2001)
  • Gabor explains what is fructose, glucose and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Gabor explains the enzymatic means by which HFCS is made
  • Absorbed fructose is extracted by, held, and processed in the liver, with little fructose circulating in the blood stream or delivered to peripheral tissues“ – PMC
  • Absorbed glucose or that produced in the liver from fructose or other precursors is either metabolized in the liver or exported to the blood stream and further to extrahepatic tissues“ – PMC
  • We talk about what this study is and isn’t.
    • What it is: the study “permits comparative studies with humans and the direct linkage of genotype with phenotype (insulin deficient and hyperglycemic insulin sufficient and normoglycemic)” – Bremer et al. 2011
  • What it isn’t: “This study doesn’t tell us much about the lasting effects of low fat real food” – Gabor
    • Is it useful to interpret data about other low fat studies? “Those diets, including the rice and orange juice Kempner, are well below 10 % fat. I’m not a low fat diet proponent, but this study was not designed to assess the effect of macronutrients. The regular monkey chow just happens to be low fat” – Gabor
  • What about the lack of non-sweet drink control monkeys?
    • “This considered in the paper. Basically most monkeys not included in such trials (mostly females though) are free of MetSyn and diabetes” – Gabor
  • Why isn’t this study more widely known? Shouldn’t we be more confident about advice to reduce total fructose according to its findings?
    • “It’s explained away with other, less relevant studies, e.g. short human studies with poor control, rodent studies, etc” – Gabor
  • The animals showed a progressive decrease in fat oxidation throughout the study period
    • “Yes, but they were not eating more ‘calories’” – Gabor
  • The monkey’s body composition changed for the worse over the course of 12 months. This was not due to ‘overeating’, as the common misinterpretation suggests

Agenda

Fructose-Fed Rhesus Monkeys: A Nonhuman Primate Model of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes (Bremer et al. [2011] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21884510)

  • What is fructose? What’s HFCS? How’s it made?
    • Absorbed fructose is extracted by, held, and processed in the liver, with little fructose circulating in the blood stream or delivered to peripheral tissues“ – PMC
    • Absorbed glucose or that produced in the liver from fructose or other precursors is either metabolized in the liver or exported to the blood stream and further to extrahepatic tissues“ – PMC
  • Adiponectin + HMW adiponectin decreased whilst monkeys gained weight
    • “identification of adiponectin receptor agonists that bear promise as therapeutic insulin sensitizers” – Wiki
    • coronary artery diseasehas been found to be positively associated with high molecular weight adiponectin, but not with low molecular weight adiponectin” -Wiki
  • “this model permits comparative studies with humans and the direct linkage of genotype with phenotype (insulin deficient and hyperglycemic insulin sufficient and normoglycemic)” – study

Gabor

  • “This study doesn’t tell us much about the lasting effects of low fat real food”
  • “Those diets, including the rice and orange juice Kempner, are well below 10 % fat. I’m not a low fat diet proponent, but this study was not designed to assess the effect of macronutrients. The regular monkey chow just happens to be low fat”
  • “This [lack of non-sweet drink controls] is considered in the paper. Basically most monkeys not included in such trials (mostly females though) are free of MetSyn and diabetes”
    • [would these monkeys eat the same diet (apart from the Koolaid)?] “I don’t know. I guess it depends on the price of standardized chows”
  • [Pretty conclusive, good find but why oh why is compelling evidence such as this not gained any public attention/traction? It’s 6 years old!!] “It’s explained away with other, less relevant studies, e.g. short human studies with poor control, rodent studies, etc”
  • [the animals showed a progressive decrease in fat oxidation throughout the study period” “Yes, but they were not eating more ‘calories’”
    • [They used less energy too with time, got “fat and lazy” ?] “Exactly. Their body composition changed for the worse. A lot worse, but not due to ‘overeating’ as it’s commonly interpreted”

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