Short-term, moderate consumption of sugary drinks has little impact on the metabolic health of youngsters who remain physically active, finds new research.
"These high-fructose and high-glucose beverages may not be as unhealthy for adolescents as previously thought, provided that kids stay active," said Jill Kanaley, professor and associate chair at the department of nutrition and exercise physiology at University of Missouri.
Physical activity component is really critical in protecting against some of the negative effects of drinking large amounts of sugar-sweetened drinks demonstrated in previous studies, he added.
Kanaley measured several aspects of metabolic health, including insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels, after participants had consumed moderate amounts of either high-glucose or high-fructose beverages every day for two weeks.
The high-glucose drink contained 50 grams of glucose and 15 grams of fructose; the high-fructose drink contained 50 grams of fructose and 15 grams of glucose. The researchers used armbands with electronic sensors to monitor physical activity of the participants in age group 15-20. During the study, the female adolescents averaged around 8,000 steps per day, and the males averaged about 10,000 steps per day.
Kanaley found that increased physical activity diminished negative effects associated with high-fructose diets. Many parents of adolescents worry about their children's consumption of sweetened beverages. "I certainly would recommend that they work to reduce their children's intake of sugary drinks, but it also is important for kids to remain active, especially if they are drinking a lot of sugary beverages," Kanaley emphasised.