Fructose dangers

What your doctor probably doesn’t yet know: fructose is the most damaging part of table sugar (sucrose), which is half glucose, half fructose. Fructose is the sugar in honey and fruit, so we think of it as the “healthier” sugar.

Glucose dumps immediately into the blood, making insulin spike, but fructose is processed in the liver and sent out on triglycerides. Because it doesn’t show up in the bloodstream right away, fructose is low on the glycemic index and so is touted as the healthy way to have sweets.

Agave syrup, a recent fad in sweetening, is about 90% fructose; its low glycemic impact makes it seem like a healthy choice.

But recent research is finding that it is fructose, not glucose, that is associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health problems that often appear together. They are increasing at an alarming rate: hypertension, obesity, diabetes, renal disease, and heart disease.

One of the foremost scientists doing this research is Richard Johnson, MD, Univ. of Colorado, who we heard at the Food Addiction Summit last April. In his studies, only the rats on fructose developed metabolic syndrome, not those on glucose. And the fructose rats developed these problems even when calories were at starvation level!

Johnson has found that fructose causes energy depletion. Protein synthesis stops, and uric acid builds up in blood within 30 min. Chronic uric acid buildup causes hypertension, microvascular disease, dementia, and stroke. It also induces salt sensitivity and leptin resistance (leptin is a hormone that tells us when we’re full), so appetite increases while energy decreases.

Because vitamin C neutralizes some of the effects of uric acid buildup, eating whole fruit is less likely to bring on metabolic syndrome, but in the last 50 years the typical American diet includes more and more fructose, in products we don’t even think of as sweet, like salad dressing and ketchup.

But the biggest culprit is soda. Most 1950 Americans thought of soda as a treat, something to go to a soda fountain for. Now we drink it when we’re thirsty, like water, and we’re getting fat and sick so fast that experts are calling it an epidemic and forecasting that we may soon see a generation whose life expectancy is shorter than their parents’.

Want to be healthier than the average American? Drink no fructose!

Here’s to feeling good -
Anne Whitson, M.A., N.S.
Nutrition Specialist/Weight Mgmt Coach
Ubbe’s Fitness Studio and Weight Mgmt Clinic

More info about fructose: The Sugar Fix, Richard Johnson, MD

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