Sugar in Drinks May Be Good for Stress, But Bad For Everything Else

In just two weeks, even modest doses of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) raise LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease and gout. The results are similar for HFCS and for added regular sugar in drinks.

Researchers fed 85 adults aged 18 to 40 beverages sweetened with enough high-fructose corn syrup to supply 0, 10, 17.5, or 25 percent of their calories for two weeks. Beverages with 0 percent HFCS were sweetened with aspartame. (On average, adults aged 20 to 60 get about 13 percent of their calories from HFCS, table sugar, and other added sugars, but some get far more.)

The results of testing sugar in drinks is not surprising. The higher the dose, the higher their LDL cholesterol, after-meal triglycerides, and average uric acid levels. (High uric acid is linked to a higher risk of gout.) The differences held up after the researchers accounted for the slight weight gain in the group that got the highest dose of HFCS.