One of the areas that cause mass confusion in the diet world is sugar, particularly fructose.
Fructose has gotten a bad rap, understandably so, because of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and how it has been associated with blossoming backsides, fatty liver disease, diabetes, heart disease and just about every health abomination there is.
But does that mean you should avoid fresh fruit because fruit contains sugar in the form of fructose?
And how does fructose compared to glucose—are they both bad?
Let me clear up the confusion:
Glucose versus fructose—how do they differ?
Most of the carbohydrates you eat (including sugars, starchy vegetables, grains and to a lesser degree dairy) are converted to glucose upon digestion.
Every single cell in your body uses glucose for energy (especially your brain!), so most of what you consume is “burned up.” Your liver only has to metabolize about 20 percent of the glucose you take in.
Fructose, on the other hand, is not used at all for energy. 100 percent of the fructose you take in must be metabolized by your liver, so you can see the reason for the association between fatty liver disease and fructose consumption—your liver gets far more stressed with fructose than glucose.
Since it is not used as an energy source, fructose turns into fatty acids, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides, which are then stored as fat.
Fructose encourages overeating
Glucose suppresses your hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates the hormone leptin, which then suppresses your appetite. This is how your body responds to hunger and recognizes satiety.
Fructose, on the other hand, has no effect on your hunger hormones. Since your body doesn’t sense satiety, it’s very easy to overeat fructose…and create more of you to love with every bite.
In addition, the fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate in your muscle tissues, triggering insulin resistance. As this worsens over time and continued fructose consumption, eventually metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes may come knocking.
But is ALL fructose bad?
Although fructose is fructose and it’s all metabolized the same way by your liver when the source of your fructose is fresh fruit, you are getting fructose in its pure, natural form, and taking in FAR less than you would from products made with the highly processed HFCS.
For example, a medium apple contains 13 grams of natural fructose; a can of Coke has a whopping 39 grams, (three times as much) ALL in the form of HFCS.
See the vast difference?
Plus fresh fruit has many healthful components, including nutrients, fiber, and natural water, so it’s not something you want to be without. Just limit your consumption to about 15-20 grams of fructose a day.
Here is a chart that can help guide you with making wise fruit choices:
|Fruit portion||Grams of fructose|
|1 cup cranberries||0.7|
|1 cup raspberries||3.0|
|1 cup blackberries||3.5|
|1 cup strawberries||3.8|
|1 slice pineapple||4.0|
|1 peach or nectarine||5.8|
|1 medium banana||7.1|
|1 cup blueberries||7.4|
|1 small apple||9.5|
|1 cup grapes||12.4|
Avoid HFCS at ALL COST
One thing you should strive to avoid like the plague is HFCS—it should be labeled with a skull and crossbones.
It has no redeeming qualities (like fruit does), it harms your health in countless ways and most assuredly will ensure you spend the rest of your days overweight and sick.
Plus HFCS is typically made with GMO corn to boot, so you’re taking in glyphosate with every bite.
A good way to start is to stick to real foods. HFCS hides in most processed and fast foods, so by avoiding those, you inherently avoid HFCS.
The biggie here is soda. Soda is the #1 source of HFCS in existence, so do yourself a favor and stay far away from it. (And don’t you dare ask me if diet soda is any better. With diet soda you are merely trading one poison—HFCS—for another—aspartame or sucralose.)
Help your gut recover too
Your friendly gut flora takes a major hit from excessive sugar consumption, including HFCS.
Harmful yeasts and bacteria feed on sugar and can gain the “upper hand” over your beneficial bacteria, which in turn can weaken your immune system functioning as well as impact your digestion and nutrient absorption, and spur the development of leaky gut.But a top-notch full-spectrum probiotic like Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula can help your gut recover from “sugar abuse” and support a much healthier flora balance.