The double face of fructose

It is rich in fruit and honey, and it is also used to sweeten food and drinks. To avoid unpleasant inconveniences, however, it is better not to abuse it.

Fructose is a simple sugar: together with glucose it constitutes sucrose, the common cooking sugar.

We find it especially in fruit, especially figs, apples and pears, and bananas.

Furthermore, fructose is often used in confectionery products and sugary drinks, because it has a rather high sweetening power, which makes it preferable to sucrose.

The recommended daily dose is between 30-50 grams per day, but exceeding this threshold is not difficult if you consume sugary drinks and industrial bakery products every day where it is contained in fair quantities, not counting the quota introduced with fruit.

The characteristics of fructose

Fructose has a sweetening power about 33 percent higher than glucose and twice as much as sucrose.

When present at low concentrations in the blood, fructose does not interfere too much with insulin, the hormone essential for the transport of glucose from the blood into the tissues. This partial “insulin independence” explains why, especially in the past, its consumption was promoted in diabetics compared to sucrose, glucose and sweeteners.

But we must not exaggerate: it is true that at low doses it does not interfere with insulin, but it is also true that exceeding with its consumption, the increase in insulin secretion is guaranteed, with possible negative repercussions on health, even more so if you suffer from metabolic diseases such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

This is especially true for fructose isolated and used as a sweetener or flavor corrector. The fructose contained in fruit does not pose particular problems (unless you consume really exaggerated amounts), thanks to the simultaneous presence of fibers that slow down its absorption and the high concentration of other beneficial nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

The potential risks if you exceed

An excessive intake of fructose can endanger the liver and the figure: this sugar stimulates the production of a particular type of fat, triglycerides, favoring weight gain and the development of hepatic steatosis, or the formation of fat accumulations in the liver.

Several studies, both on laboratory animals and on humans, have shown that fructose has a greater ability to increase plasma triglyceride levels than a similar amount of glucose, with a lower satiating power.

Finally, there are data suggesting that the widespread use of fructose to sweeten industrial foods and drinks is responsible for an increased risk of suffering from hypertension.

In short, yes to fructose in small doses, but its abuse must be avoided in dysmetabolic patients, obese and in those with kidney diseases. Fructose would also be not recommended for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, but for different reasons. In these individuals even a slight excess of this simple sugar can promote bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *