Fructose has caused a good deal of controversy. With the widespread publication of health problems related to corn syrups with high fructose content and excessive intake of fructose, the "fear of fructose" is understandable.
In addition, we all know that too much sugar in general is bad news for your health. It contributes to weight gain, wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels and is now even linked to heart disease.
Therefore, modern health messages about white sugar are pretty clear: our average daily intake is too high (a whopping 130 pounds per year for the average American) and the health consequences are well documented.
So, where does fructose fit in the image? Processed foods are pumped full of fructose (in the form of high fructose corn syrup), but should we worry about natural sources as well? Keep reading to find out if all this is just a bit of "fruit scare trafficker" or a legitimate health problem!
First things first … What is fructose?
From a technical perspective, fructose is a monosaccharide. In other words, it is a type of sugar that exists in its most basic unit. Fructose does not become a "simpler" form before it is absorbed and metabolized by the human body.
Fructose is found naturally in fruits, honey, nectar, root vegetables and juice. After eating these foods, our body absorbs fructose and uses it to produce energy. Some of this fructose can also be fermented by bacteria in the intestine (have you noticed that certain fruits can cause some swelling?). Too much fructose, however, is converted into body fat to store that surplus energy for another time, and may even affect the liver. That is why you should avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It is very processed and very high in fructose.
How much should I eat?
Most health experts agree that adults require at least two servings of fruit each day to meet their nutritional requirements. Therefore, unless you have a medical condition that requires you to limit your fructose intake (or very poorly controlled diabetes), it may not be necessary to restrict your fruit intake beyond this guide.
Many studies also show that Fruit intake is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, in light of this evidence and the above nutritional qualities, there seem to be some health benefits of eating fruit.
However, we believe that the best for your health is to avoid high doses of "empty calories" fructose in the form of HFCS. With fruit, fructose is packed with fiber and a lot of other goodness. Therefore, fructose is released more slowly with a pile of other nutrients when you eat fruit. When you consume HFCS, your body receives a large unnatural "discharge" of fructose into the bloodstream. Foods that use HFCS also tend to be of low nutritional value.
With any nutritional advice, it really should be considered in the context of your complete diet and your current health status. If you have IBS, autoimmune disorders or recurrent candida infections, it may be wise to try reducing fructose (and fruit) intake while implementing holistic healing options. And no matter what your state of health, HFCS is far from an essential food and can be avoided.
To sum up…
If otherwise healthy, we do not believe there is any reason to excessively restrict fructose from natural, fresh (and preferably organic) fruit sources. Most adults need two servings of fruit a day just to meet their basic requirements of vitamins and fiber … We say enjoy this beautiful and tasty appetizer of Mother Nature!
If you're really worried, you can opt for low-sugar fruits such as berries, passion fruit, strawberries and non-tropical varieties. In any case, it is also advisable to moderate the intake of juices based on fruits and nuts, as these provide a concentrated supply of fructose and can cause tooth decay.
Conflicting health advice makes knowing what to eat confusing at times! Let's open a friendly conversation about your experiences with fructose below …
Comments are closed here.You May Also Like: