IS IT THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL?
Fructose is simply sugar made from fruit.
I have people say “I don’t buy that brand. They use High Fructose Corn Syrup!” HFCS is, at most, 55% fructose. The rest is glucose.(The same as the sugar in your blood stream converted by your body from carbohydrates)
Check the label. It probably contains an equal amount of sucrose (made from sugar cane or sugar beets), Dextrose (made from corn and identical to glucose) or some other form of sugar.
I’ve even been told “I don’t drink fruit juice or eat fruit because it contains fructose.”
Is fructose the reason the US has a 60+% obesity rate? Does it cause cancer? Is it the main cause of diabetes? Does it cause earthquakes? Will it steal your firstborn in the middle of the night as you sleep?
Not in moderation
How about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)?
How did fructose get its bad reputation? It must have done something wrong…
The problem arose when initial studies from years ago were sensationalized by the news media with no detail and no background. The headlines go something like this; “Studies show that fructose (or HFCS) may cause obesity, cancer, and earthquakes.” End of story. “Stay tuned for local weather”.
There are a number of problems with those initial studies:
The initial studies were Epideminological in nature. This type of study simply indicates there is a relationship. It doesn’t even attempt to find a cause/effect relationship.
Dr Brad Dieter, PHD describes it this way:
“A recent study indicates that ice cream consumption was highly associated with shark attacks.” Does this suggest that consuming ice cream may cause shark attacks? The real story is probably that people consume more ice cream during the summer, during which they are also spending more time swimming in shark infested waters.
The Behavioral Component
Many of the original studies made no attempt to account for human behavior.
Namely, test subjects who consume large amounts of fructose or HFCS may exhibit other unhealthy habits such as overeating in general, smoking, being sedentary and so forth.
The Dosing Problem
Many of the studies tested with extremely high doses of fructose. On the order of 340 grams of straight fructose (daily) in one study, 30% of total caloric intake in another.
(340 grams of fructose is about 15 cans of coke per day).
According NHANES survey data, the average “real life” consumption is estimated to be 54.7 grams per day. Adolescents consume about 12% of total calories from fructose (compared to 30% used in the studies)
Yes, if you drink 15 cans of coke a day you’ll get fat…..
More recent and more controlled studies indicate no harmful effects from moderate amounts of fructose or HFCS in healthy individuals.
To Sum It All Up
Eat fruit. Fresh fruit has numerous health benefits. (That’s a subject for another article).
The moderate amount of fructose in 3-5 servings a day of fresh fruit won’t cause earthquakes or make you fat. Bear in mind that you get more fructose per unit of volume from fruit juice and less fiber. Be careful with the fruit juice. But pay attention to the amount of fructose you consume from all sources and keep it moderate. Too much sugar or any kind, including fructose, is not in your best interest and will make you gain weight.
If you’re really into the science of the subject, click on the link above to Dr. Dieter’s site “Science Driven Nutrition”