Fructose: it’s not like other sugars>

Posted Fri 8th Mar 2013 9:20 PM by Dan Britchford in Nutrition

Just a quick one today… and a little bit of easy advice on your fructose intake

You may think that sugar, is sugar. It will have all the same effects and should come under one umbrella, but unfortunately – all sugars are not made equal.

Fructose (a majority sugar found in fruits) is metabolised directly within the liver, and is the sugar most rapidly converted to fat by your body. And not just any fat, adipose fat. Adipose fat is the kind of fat that sits in your abdominal region – and it’s associated with elevated risk of heart disease.

The metabolism of fructose is a pretty inefficient process, and creates plenty of toxins and waste products. The liver only has to deal with a small amount of fructose before it decides enough is enough, and switches to converting all fructose to body fat. In fact, the amount of fructose that can be consumed before that switch is flipped is actually very small – not much more than a couple of handfuls of berries, or an apple – and the negative effects of fructose don’t stop at potential fat gain.

Along with adverse effects on satiety and hunger, diets high in fructose can lead to a number of health problems, including:

  • Obesity and insulin resistance
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular and liver disease
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Higher levels of bad cholesterol, ‘LDL’ (see my article here for why this is bad)
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer

So it’s plain to see that high levels of fructose should be avoided. But, before you put down that perfectly ripe apple you were about to bite into, you should know that fructose isn’t found only in fruit, and that there are ‘good’ ways and ‘bad’ ways to take in fructose – and fruit is one of the good ways.

Things to avoid

The thing you want to avoid is high fructose corn syrup, which is found mostly in soft drinks and processed foods. Unfortunately pretty much anything that needs sweetening; like bakery goods and sweets, also usually contains the bad stuff – and should be avoided most of the time.

Don’t avoid fruit too much

The fructose found in fruits and normal cane sugar is less metabolically toxic to your system, because its bonded to other sugars, and as such you don’t need to worry about it too much. Just as a general rule, try to avoid eating a lot more than 2 fruits daily.

You may be thinking ‘oh shit’ right now, because terms like ‘sweets’ and ‘bakery goods’ cover a very large range of things, but it’s not like abusing fructose will cause you damage overnight. It may never cause you any problems at all. As with everything, take it with a pinch of salt, and just try not to eat those kinds of things on a regular basis.

Final thoughts

As a pre-final note, everything that I have just written is my main problem with those diets sometimes pro-pented by ‘ultra healthy’ individuals where they basically suggest fruit morning, noon, and night – such as juicing. Too much of anything is not always a great idea – and that includes vitamins and minerals – which you overdose on in juicing diets. And if you’re consuming something that is metabolically toxic (fructose) all the time – that can’t be good for you.

And as a final note: fructose has been said to be beneficial to muscular growth (in some way) when taken pre-workout. But, as you can probably tell from my vagueness – I can’t find the study that suggested it and therefore can’t support that view. There is also plenty on the other side that suggests the toxicity of metabolising the fructose in the liver will have a negative effect on protein synthesis. But on that side of things, I can say that it would have to be quite a high level of fructose consumed to have any effect on protein synthesis.

Oh yeh, and recommended amounts (by some experts on the subject, not me) are below 25g of fructose a day, and only 15g (of fructose) from fruit – probably should have led with that!

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About the author

Dan Britchford

Dan is the Editor/Designer/Developer, and Main Author of liftingthebar.com. His knowledge is gained through forum haunting and an active intrigue into all things fitness and nutrition based with a scientific grounding. When he isn't working on passion projects, or in the gym - he's selling himself trying to make it as a freelance web developer.

Dan has posted 30 times since 2013-01-31 15:06:30

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