Fructose is a simple sugar that is found in fruit and vegetables.It is one of three monosaccharides found in nature, the other two being Glucose and Galactose. It is about 1.7 times as sweet as ordinary sugar (sucrose). In addition it has a lower glycemic index, only 25 and for this reason it has been used, in small amounts by diabetics.

However, concerns have recently been raised about the health consequences of large quantities of this sugar in the diet, particularly in refined form.

It can be used in almost any situation to replace ordinary sugar. It is sweeter so less is needed, it is heat stable and has a long shelf life. It even browns when heated like ordinary sugar. Cheap forms derived from corn starch are used extensively in the food industry in the USA and elsewhere.

Low glycemic index. Sweeter than sugar, so less can be used. Not as harmful to teeth as ordinary sugar. Has a very good flavor. It is a natural substance and is safe to consume in moderate amounts. However we will look more closely at the sources and amounts that can be considered safe.

Consumption of fructose in fruit and vegetables does not appear to be a problem, and this is no surprise as it has been always been part of the human diet. The problem is the refined form and the quantity consumed. Although it has a low glycemic index it is digested in a different way to other sugars. Unlike glucose it is metabolized by the liver and excessive amount can put a strain on this organ. It has also been linked to an increase in LDL (bad cholesterol) raised blood pressure, obesity and raised levels of uric acid in the body. It has also been linked to gout and heart disease.

Safety Guidelines:
The World Health Organization recommend no more than 50gm refined sugar per day (about 12 small teaspoons) for an average adult. This would apply to all sugars including fructose. However in view of the known dangers it would be sensible to limit consumption to that which occurs naturally or in ordinary sugar. Avoid the pure substance or highly refined sources such as Agave Syrup.

CSPI (US) Recommendation

The recommendation issued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (US) for this substance is - CUT BACK

Interesting Youtube clip with Professor Robert Lustig:

It is mostly produced from modified corn starch.

Sold As:
It is a generic product. It is sold in crystalline form and syrup.

Interesting facts:
It has many properties that make it suitable for processed foods. It browns well, has a good shelf life and contributes to texture, quality and flavor.

30 years ago this sweetener had a very good name. It was considered to be a very good alternative to table sugar. After all it was found in fruit, and everybody knows that fruit is healthy. However recent findings have shown conclusively that consumption of large quantities of refined fructose contributes to metabolic syndrome.

The problem is that if more than a certain quantity is ingested over a short period of time the liver metabolizes it by increasing circulating triglycerides in the body. This leads to fat deposition, particularly around the belly!! Not good!! You would be far better eating eggs than fructose, a fact that would have been laughed at years ago.

When high fructose corn syrup hit the market about 30 years ago its proponents must have felt they had chosen a good name for their product. No doubt now, they very much regret that choice. They are now trying to change the name to 'corn sugar'. Even they do not argue with the findings that it is harmful, but they say that their product is exactly the same as sugar. However this is not totally true a we shall see. Click here

Does not require approval.

Conclusions for Fructose

Unfortunately the case appears to be clear, fructose is harmful unless taken in moderate quantities. Avoid all crystalline forms. Try to avoid consumption of HFCS. Avoid Agace Syrup, it is over 90% fructose. Reduce sugar and honey to moderate levels. (Honey is beneficial at moderate levels, a spoon or two per day) Avoid apple and pear juice, they are very high in fructose. Pure orange juice is better but not in large quantities. No need to avoid it in fruit or vegetables, the fiber, antioxidants and other solids regulate the metabolism and prevent the harmful effects.

Name Calories / Gram Sweetness Index Glycemic Index Calories / Spoon-Equiv
Fructose 4 1.7 23 9

Taste: -------- Good
Aftertaste: ---- No.
Concerns: ----- Yes.

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