beware of fructose

Let me remind you that fructose refers to simple sugars (carbohydrates) and is a derivative of glucose. Fructose gives sweetness to fruits and honey, and along with glucose (in equal proportions) is a component of sucrose, i.e. regular white table (refined) sugar. 

What happens to fructose in the body? Fructose metabolism 

Then there will be some “terrible” chemistry. For those who are not interested, I recommend that you immediately go to the end of the article, which contains a list of possible symptoms of excessive fructose consumption and practical recommendations for its safe use. 

So, fructose from food is absorbed in the intestine and metabolized in the liver cells. In the liver, fructose, like glucose, is converted to pyruvate (pyruvic acid). The processes of pyruvate synthesis from glucose (glycolysis) and fructose[1][S2] are different. The main feature of fructose metabolism is the high consumption of ATP molecules and the formation of “unuseful” by-products: triglycerides and uric acid. 

As you know, fructose does not affect the production of insulin, a pancreatic hormone whose main function is to control blood glucose levels and regulate carbohydrate metabolism. Actually, this made it (fructose) a “product for diabetics”, but it is for this reason that metabolic processes get out of control. Due to the fact that an increase in the concentration of fructose in the blood does not lead to the production of insulin, as is the case with glucose, the cells remain deaf to what is happening, i.e. feedback control does not work.

Uncontrolled metabolism of fructose leads to an increased level of triglycerides in the blood and the deposition of fats in the adipose tissue of internal organs, mainly in the liver and muscles. Obese organs poorly perceive insulin signals, glucose does not enter them, cells starve and suffer from the action of free radicals (oxidative stress), which leads to a violation of their integrity and death. Massive cell death (apoptosis) leads to local inflammation, which in turn is a dangerous factor for the development of a number of deadly diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, excess triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Another by-product of fructose metabolism is uric acid. It affects the synthesis of certain biologically active substances secreted by adipose tissue cells, and thus can affect the regulation of energy balance, lipid metabolism, insulin sensitivity, which, in turn, leads to point and systemic malfunctions in the body. However, the cellular picture is far from definitive and requires further research. But it is well known that uric acid crystals can be deposited in the joints, subcutaneous tissue and kidneys. The result is gout and chronic arthritis. 

Fructose: instructions for use 

What is so scary? No, fructose is not dangerous in small amounts. But in the amounts consumed today (more than 100 grams per day) by most people, fructose can cause a range of side effects. 

● Diarrhea; ● Flatulence; ● Increased fatigue; ● Constant craving for sweets; ● Anxiety; ● Pimples; ● Abdominal obesity. 

How to avoid problems?

Let’s say you find yourself with most of the symptoms. How to be? Forget about fruits and sweets? Not at all. The following guidelines will help you make it safe to consume fructose: 

1. It is recommended to consume no more than 50 g of fructose per day. For example, 6 tangerines or 2 sweet pears contain a daily dose of fructose. 2. Give preference to low-fructose fruits: apples, citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, avocados. Significantly reduce the consumption of high fructose fruits: sweet pears and apples, mangoes, bananas, grapes, watermelon, pineapples, dates, lychees, etc. 3. Do not get carried away with sweets containing fructose. Especially those that are full of shelves of “diet food” supermarkets. 4. Do not drink sweet drinks such as cola, fruit nectars, packaged juices, fruit cocktails and others: they contain MEGA doses of fructose. 5. Honey, Jerusalem artichoke syrup, date syrup and other syrups contain high amounts of pure fructose (some up to 70%, such as agave syrup), so you should not consider them a 100% “healthy” sugar replacement. 

6. Vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables (citrus fruits, apples, cabbage, berries, etc.), protects against some of the side effects of fructose. 7. Fiber inhibits the absorption of fructose, which helps to slow down its metabolism. So opt for fresh fruit over fructose-containing sweets, fruit syrups, and juices, and make sure to include more vegetables in your diet than fruits and everything else. 8. Carefully study the packaging and composition of products. Behind what names fructose is hidden: ● Corn syrup; ● Glucose-fructose syrup; ● Fruit sugar; ● Fructose; ● Invert sugar; ● Sorbitol.

The scientific community has not yet issued a unanimous verdict on fructose. But scientists warn of the possible dangers of uncontrolled consumption of fructose and urge not to consider it exclusively a “useful product”. Pay attention to your own body, the processes that take place in it every second and remember that in many ways your health is in your hands.  

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