Consuming a high fructose sugar diet causes the immune system to become inflamed and prevent their proper functioning, says a new study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Fructose or fruit sugar is a natural sugar present in fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables, and honey. However, fructose is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The study shows that fructose causes the immune system to become inflamed, and that process produces more reactive molecules associated with inflammation.
The researchers studied how humans and mouse cells responded to fructose exposure. It was found that inflammation of this kind can damage cells and tissues and contribute to the improper functioning of organs and body systems, leading to various diseases.
This finding suggested that individuals with an increased fructose level in their diets have a high risk of poor outcomes when fighting infections. Fructose was also found to be linked to obesity, as inflammation is often associated with this condition.
The research by Swansea scientists in collaboration with scientists at the University of Bristol and the Francis Crick Institute in London has opened doors to conduct further studies that could help scientists develop treatments for cancer and infectious diseases.
"Our study is exciting because it takes us a step further toward understanding why some diets can lead to ill health," said Dr Emma Vincent, a study author and research fellow at Bristol Medical School.
Hence it is always best to know which food items contain high fructose to prevent their regular consumption. Sugary drinks (aerated water, sodas, packaged fruit juices), processed foods (cereal, chocolates), dried and canned fruits, apple pie and junk food are some of the foods high in fructose content.