Dr. Vanessa Bundy, a pediatric resident at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University and Norman Pollock, a bone biologist at MCG's Georgia Prevention Institute, analyzed 559 adolescents age 14-18.
The study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, correlated high-fructose diets with higher blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin resistance and inflammatory factors that contribute to heart and vascular disease.
Heavy consumers tend to have lower levels of cardiovascular protectors such as such as high-density lipoprotein, the "good," cholesterol and adiponectin -- a hormone that modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism. Levels of the hormone are inversely correlated with body fat percentage in adults.
"The nutrition that caregivers provide their children will either contribute to their overall health and development or potentially contribute to cardiovascular disease at an early age," Bundy said in a statement. "Adolescents consume the most fructose so it's really important to not only measure the levels of fructose but to look at what it might be doing to their bodies currently and, hopefully, to look at cardiovascular disease outcomes as they grow."