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Diets high in fructose can cause damage to immune system

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People who consume a diet high in the sugar fructose could risk damaging their immune systems.

The intake of fructose, which is most commonly found in sugary drinks, sweets, and processed foods, has increased significantly in the developed world in recent years, and it is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Research looking into the impact of a high fructose diet on the immune system has been limited, so scientists from Swansea University, the University of Bristol, and the Francis Crick Institute in London conducted a study to investigate the link.

They discovered that consuming a diet high in fructose might prevent a person's immune system from functioning properly. The sugar causes the immune system to become inflamed and that process produces more reactive molecules which are associated with inflammation.


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This type of inflammation can go on to damage cells and tissues and contribute to organs and body systems not working as they normally should and could even lead to disease.

The research builds on the expanding body of evidence highlighting the damaging effects of too much fructose, and also helps experts understand how the sugar could be linked to diabetes and obesity, as low-level inflammation is often associated with obesity.

"Research into different components of our diet can help us understand what might contribute to inflammation and disease and what could be best harnessed to improve health and wellbeing," said Dr Nick Jones, of Swansea University's Medical School, while Dr Emma Vincent from the Bristol Medical School added: "Our study is exciting because it takes us a step further towards understanding why some diets can lead to ill health."

Their findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

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