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Fructose: advantages and disadvantages of fruit sweetness

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 391 views

Fructose (fructose) is a simple sugar found primarily in fruit and honey. That is why it is also called fructose. Fructose is twice as sweet as glucose (grape sugar) and does not cause blood sugar to rise as much. It is often found in finished products as a sweetener. Read here why this is a concern and the maximum amount you should consume per day.

What is fructose?

The name fructose is derived from the Latin word “Fructus” which means fruit. Fructose is a naturally occurring simple sugar with the chemical structural formula C6H12O6. Simple sugars are made up of individual sugar molecules.

In contrast to glucose, fructose has a very low glycemic index (GI), which means that the blood sugar level increases only slightly when consumed.

Fructose is found in honey and sweet fruit. These include, for example, apples, raisins, grapes, figs, dates, but also fruit juices. To a lesser extent, fructose is contained in blueberries and strawberries. Vegetables such as aubergines and zucchini also contain fructose. The sweetest source of fructose comes from America: corn syrup contains 90 grams of fructose per 100 grams of syrup.

Since fructose has the same calories as glucose and normal table sugar (sucrose), but is twice as sweet, it is a popular ingredient in the food industry. This can be recognized by product information such as “sweetened with fructose”.

The problem: Large amounts of fructose quickly lead to abdominal pain and flatulence. In addition, fructose is associated with obesity, obesity and gout. It is therefore important that you eat these products with care.

However, there is nothing wrong with a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. There is no evidence that more serious health problems arise from these natural foods.

Which foods contain fructose?

Fructose is found in various foods. In addition to honey, fruit and vegetables, this also includes dairy products such as yoghurt, sweets and muesli. There are also drinks that contain up to 40 grams per liter of fructose. For orientation: It is already considered questionable to consume more than 35 grams of fructose per meal.

Here is a brief overview of foods with fructose

  • Fruit : Raisins, fresh dates, dried bananas, apples, grapes and pears are rich in fructose.
  • Vegetables : Fructose is found, for example, in eggplant, sweetcorn, tomatoes, carrots, beans and peas.
  • Beverages : Instant fruit tea powder, multivitamin juice, lemonade, grapefruit juice, sweet white wine and apple juice spritzer are rich in fructose.
  • Sweets : Butter biscuits and dominoes, among others, contain fructose.

Here you will find an overview of the fructose content of individual foods .

Is fructose healthy?

For a long time, fructose was considered a better alternative to table sugar. However, caution should also be exercised with fructose. The human organism does not tolerate fructose well in large quantities. Abdominal pain and bloating are common.

A value of 35 grams per meal is reached quite quickly: Many sugary drinks contain almost twice that amount. It is therefore worth taking a look at the list of ingredients before buying or consuming. Although there is no uniform labeling requirement for foods, the further in front of “sugar” is written, the higher the fructose content is likely to be.

Various research results also indicate that increased fructose consumption is sometimes associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and dyslipidemia.

The reason for the negative effects on weight and liver (obesity) is assumed that fructose – unlike glucose – hardly increases the insulin level. This hormone signals the brain a “feeling full” that does not occur when fructose is consumed.

However, the negative effects of fructose only occur if you consume a lot of it over a long period of time.

Also, according to other studies, problems only appear when people generally increase the amount of energy they consume from carbohydrates . It is then questionable whether the fructose is the trigger of the health problems or possibly overeating.

Fructose: You should pay attention to this!

It is the wrong approach to stop eating fruit for fear of the possible negative effects of fructose. Experts also agree that it is hardly possible to get into the critical range via natural foods. For that you would have to eat a whole kilo of apples, for example.

However, this is different for industrial products such as lemonades, soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. Be economical here, otherwise, in combination with the rest of your diet, you will very quickly reach a value of more than 100 grams per day.

When it comes to foods, pay attention to labels such as “less sweet”, “less sugar” and “fruity sweetness”. This usually means that they are high in fructose. Even if the list of ingredients says “fructose-glucose syrup”, caution is advised. In addition, low-fat dairy products such as fruit yoghurt often contain fructose.

fructose and diabetes

For many years, fructose was considered the ideal sweetener for diabetics because it is metabolized without insulin. In the meantime, the regulations have changed and foods with fructose may no longer be specifically labeled as suitable for diabetics.

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, fructose has no significant advantages over table sugar when it comes to the blood sugar reaction. In addition, in some cases, increased consumption has an unfavorable effect on the metabolism. For example, it favors the harmful LDL cholesterol and thus cardiovascular diseases.

Fructose intolerance (fructose intolerance)

Fructose intolerance is a metabolic disorder that is congenital (hereditary fructose intolerance) or acquired (fructose malabsorption). Affected people do not digest fructose properly. Fructose intolerance is noticeable through flatulence and diarrhea after eating foods containing fructose. There are also other digestive problems.

Dealing with the food intolerance depends on when it started.

Hereditary fructose intolerance

In the case of the rare hereditary (hereditary) fructose intolerance, those affected must pay strict attention to their diet. Because the fructose is not completely broken down by the liver. This often results in kidney and liver damage.

There is no medication for this intolerance. Therefore, foods with fructose are taboo.

Acquired fructose intolerance

Fructose malabsorption is the more common form of food intolerance. The fructose is not properly absorbed from the small intestine into the blood. Instead, it ends up in the large intestine and is broken down by bacteria. This causes digestive problems such as bloating and abdominal pain.

In this form, the diet is not quite as strict. It’s even wrong to avoid fructose altogether. This would initially improve the symptoms of fructose intolerance.

With prolonged abstinence , however, the number of sugar transporters in the intestine decreases. Small amounts of fructose, which were initially well tolerated, often cause symptoms.

This form of food intolerance may disappear again over the course of life, and in some cases it can be controlled with an appropriate diet.

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