Food and Behaviour Research

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10 April 2015 - Cambridge Journals Blog - Sweetened fruit drinks could be linked to childhood asthma

Luanne DeChristopher

A new landmark epidemiology study further implicates high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in chronic disease. Researchers report for the first time that children who regularly consume beverages high in excess free fructose (EFF) including apple juice (AJ), and HFCS sweetened fruit drinks and sodas have higher rates of asthma.

The study sought to assess the correlation between intake of excess free fructose containing (EFF) beverages and asthma in children, and epidemiologically test the possibility that fructose malabsorption (FM) and fructose reactivity in the GI could convert dietary proteins into immunogens –known as FruAGEs – and trigger airway mucus hypersecretion and asthma.

According to results published in the peer reviewed journal Public Health Nutrition – “Intakes of EFF beverages were significantly associated with asthma in 2-9 year olds. Odds of asthma in children consuming apple juice, and sweetened fruit drinks and/or soda  more than 5 times a week were more than 5 times that of those consuming these beverages less than once a  month. Those consuming apple juice more than 5 times a week vs once a month, adjusted for the other beverages, were more than twice as likely to have asthma. In contrast, there was a tendency for orange juice to be protective.”

Results of this ground breaking study suggest the symptoms of unabsorbed fructose may not be limited to increased gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and decreased nutrient absorption. Unabsorbed fructose may contribute to formation of endogenous Fru-AGEs associated with asthma and possibly other chronic disease conditions.