Recent evidence suggests that fructose consumption is associated with weight gain, fat deposition and impaired cognitive function. However it is unclear whether the detrimental effects are caused by fructose itself or by the concurrent increase in overall energy intake. In the present study we examine the impact of a fructose diet relative to an isocaloric glucose diet in the absence of overfeeding, using a mouse model that mimics fructose intake in the top percentile of the USA population (18% energy). Following 77 days of supplementation, changes in body weight (BW), body fat, physical activity, cognitive performance and adult hippocampal neurogenesis were assessed. Despite the fact that no differences in calorie intake were observed between groups, the fructose animals displayed significantly increased BW, liver mass and fat mass in comparison to the glucose group. This was further accompanied by a significant reduction in physical activity in the fructose animals. Conversely, no differences were detected in hippocampal neurogenesis and cognitive/motor performance as measured by object recognition, fear conditioning and rotorod tasks. The present study suggests that fructose per se, in the absence of excess energy intake, increases fat deposition and BW potentially by reducing physical activity, without impacting hippocampal neurogenesis or cognitive function.
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