High-fructose corn syrup is the principal sweetening agent in most high-sugar soft drinks. Fructose provides the sweet taste in fruits. In sedentary people, it is linked to an increased risk of the metabolic syndrome (abdominal obesity, abnormal blood fats, high blood pressure, poor blood sugar regulation, inflammation and blood-clotting abnormalities). People consume about 300 more calories per day more than they did 30 years ago, largely because of an increased intake of fructose. A report published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, stated that a high fructose intake was beneficial for athletes. Fructose stimulates the digestion and promotes carbohydrate used during exercise, which are important for optimal performance. Intense training involves high energy expenditure, which protects athletes from the negative effects of fructose experienced by sedentary people.
Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid that serves as a building block for new proteins, and is a key signalling chemical for protein synthesis and blood sugar regulation. A study in Nutrition Metabolism, conducted by Columbia University in New York City, found that leucine improved blood sugar control in obese and diabetic mice. The mice were given leucine supplements in their drinking water for 8 months. Leucine stimulates insulin release by the pancreas and promotes the production of the amino acid glutamine, which is important for immune system health. Long-term supplementation of leucine improves the efficiency of insulin metabolism in people with type II diabetes.
Lipoic acid supplements increase the size and number of mitochondria, according to a study from the China Agricultural University in Beijing. The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells that provide the body’s energy needs, determine endurance exercise capacity, and greatly influence lifespan. Lipoic acid protects the mitochondria from highly reactive free radicals produced naturally from during metabolism. It also helps to stabilise blood sugar metabolism. Supplementing lipoic acid in aging mice improved energy metabolism and increased cell mitochondria production. It also improved body composition, blood sugar regulation, and increased energy expenditure and fat-free weight (lean mass). Lipoic acid, also known as alpha-lipoic acid, might be an effective anit-aging supplement that promotes metabolic health.
Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets increase the production of ketones formed form the incomplete breakdown of fats. Ketogenic diets cause rapid short-term weight loss but are no more effective than other low-calorie diets for long term weight loss or weight maintenance. A university study published in Endocrinology, used rats and concluded that ketogenic diets have long-lasting negative effects on blood sugar regulation. Rats that were fed low-carbohydrate diets then switched to a normal diet showed impaired insulin sensitivity and poor blood sugar control. Yo-yo dieting (bouncing between ketogenic and normal diets) may have long-term negative effects on blood sugar regulation.