Is Dextrose Bad for Me?

Measuring cup filled with sugar
Sugar is a source of empty calories. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Dextrose, also called glucose or corn sugar, is a simple sugar found naturally in some foods, such as honey and fruits, and added to some processed foods. It's what helps turn bread crust and toast brown. Americans consume too much sugar in general, so you should limit your dextrose consumption to help maintain good health. People with certain health conditions, including diabetes, need to be particularly careful about their intake of dextrose and other sugars.

For Diabetics

Diabetics need to watch their carbohydrate intake, paying particular attention to simple sugars like dextrose, because if they don't keep their carbohydrate consumption relatively consistent it can cause their blood sugar levels to spike and increase their risk for diabetes side effects. A 2005 article published in Diabetes Care noted that hospitals should take care not to use dextrose-based solutions in the IVs of people with diabetes if there's an alternative, as these solutions can cause difficulty in controlling the diabetics' blood sugar levels.

For Those With Chronic Kidney Disease

People with chronic kidney disease may want to choose foods sweetened with dextrose instead of those sweetened with fructose. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology in October 2007 found that while fructose sped up the progression of chronic kidney disease, dextrose didn't have the same effect. This was a preliminary study using rat cells, however, so further studies are necessary to determine whether dextrose has the same effects in people.

Heart Disease Risk

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014 found a link between total added sugar consumption and an increase in heart disease risk. Americans on average get about 15 percent of their calories from added sugars, such as the dextrose in processed foods, and those who consume the most added sugars have twice the risk of developing heart disease as those who consume the least added sugars, according to this study.

Recommended Limits

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar consumption to no more than 6 teaspoons, or about 24 grams, for women and no more than 9 teaspoons, or about 36 grams, for men. This includes all added sugars, such as table sugar, syrup, honey, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, brown sugar, molasses, fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose, lactose and dextrose.

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