Effects of acute and repeated oral doses of D-tagatose on plasma uric acid in normal and diabetic humans

James P. Saunders, Thomas W. Donner, John H. Sadler, Gilbert V. Levin, Nicolaus G. Makris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


D-Tagatose, a stereoisomer of D-fructose, is a naturally occurring ketohexose proposed for use as a low-calorie bulk sweetener. Ingested D-tagatose appears to be poorly absorbed. The absorbed portion is metabolized in the liver by a pathway similar to that of D-fructose. The main purpose of this study was to determine if acute or repeated oral doses of D-tagatose would cause elevations in plasma uric acid (as is seen with fructose) in normal humans and Type 2 diabetics. In addition, effects of subchronic D-tagatose ingestion on fasting plasma phosphorus, magnesium, lipids, and glucose homeostasis were studied. Eight normal subjects and eight subjects with Type 2 diabetes participated in this two-phase study. Each group was comprised of four males and four females. In the first phase, all subjects were given separate 75 g 3-h oral glucose and D-tagatose tolerance tests. Uric acid, phosphorus, and magnesium were determined in blood samples collected from each subject at 0, 30, 60, 120, and 180 min after dose. In the 8-week phase of the study, the normals were randomly placed into two groups which received 75 g of either D-tagatose or sucrose (25 g with each meal) daily for 8 weeks. The diabetics were randomized into two groups which received either 75 g D-tagatose or no supplements of sugar daily for 8 weeks. Uric acid, phosphorus, magnesium, lipids, glycosylated hemoglobin, glucose, and insulin were determined in fasting blood plasma of all subjects at baseline (time zero) and biweekly over the 8 weeks. The 8-week test did not demonstrate an increase in fasting plasma uric acid in response to the daily intake of D-tagatose. However, a transient increase of plasma uric acid levels was observed after single doses of 75 g of D-tagatose in the tolerance test. Plasma uric acid levels were found to rise and peak at 60 min after such dosing. No clinical relevance was attributed to this treatment-related effect because excursions of plasma uric acid levels above the normal range were small and were of short duration. Consistent with earlier observations on fructose, the increase of plasma uric acid was associated with a slight decrease of plasma phosphorus and a slight increase of magnesium. The daily ingestion of D-tagatose for 8 weeks had no effect on fasting plasma magnesium, phosphorus, cholesterol, triglycerides, glycosylated hemoglobin, glucose, and insulin levels. The ingestion of three 25-g doses per day for a period of 8 weeks resulted in varying amounts of flatulence in seven of the eight subjects, and some degree of diarrhea in six subjects. D-Tagatose holds promise as a sweetener with no adverse clinical effects observed in these studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S57-S65
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • D-tagatose
  • Humans
  • Uric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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