Today we’ll discuss glucose vs fructose vs sucrose, what they are, what they do and why someone might not be able to eat them.
Frutose is found naturally in things like fruit and honey but it is also found in the common sugar alternative high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and believe it or not, table sugar! When it comes to the differences it’s all about the molecules and how they metabolise in the body.
Glucose exists on it’s own and is also commonly known as dextrose.
When fructose is joined to glucose it makes sucrose. We extract it from sugar cane, beets, corn and various other plants and for the most part produce table sugar.
Fructose in it’s natural state in fruit comes packaged with fibre, vitamin, minerals and many other compounds that help the fructose metabolise more effectively in the body.
Fructose from HFCS and table sugar both contain the glucose and fructose molecule.
Fructose is also in agave, which is mostly fructose at 85%! Not a healthy option like many people think it is! Generally in the majority of natural foods where fructose is found it’s about 50/50. For example in fruits and honey.
Overconsumption of fructose has been linked to increased weight gain, triglyceride levels, blood pressure and insulin resistance, higher small dense LDL cholesterol, and fatty liver.
Metabolism in the body is the issue
Sucrose and fructose are virtually the same thing because it’s the fructose component that affects your body. When glucose is metabolised it gets digested and can be used by the body for energy or stored as glycogen in the muscles or liver for later use as energy. This is a fairly efficient process.
Whereas fructose gets metabolised entirely by the liver. What happens during metabolism is bascially three things:
1. Fructose gets metabolised to fat – it does not get used as energy like glucose but gets preferentially stored as fat
2. Fructose creates more uric acid – increasing inflammation
3. Fructose creates more free radicals – cancer and disease causing cells that we really don’t need
None of these things is a good outcome for your health.
Increasing intake of fructose has been linked to promoting weight gain and insulin resistance. As you can imagine, sucrose also contributes to this because it is half fructose. Fructose does not require insulin because it gets metabolised by the liver but this does not mean it is safe for diabetics. In fact it contributes to insulin resistance and worsens diabetes.
So should you avoid fructose?
For people with weight issues, diabetes, insulin resistance or some kind of fructose sensitivity, it may be a good idea to try it.
You definitely want to be avoiding high fructose corn syrup and any of the highly processed forms of fructose. Like all things food, it is an individual thing but it’s great to experiment for a few weeks to a month and see how it makes you feel. Many people find a huge difference by cutting out fruit and extra forms of fructose for a while. Or at least greatly cutting down on them.
At least I hope you understand the difference between these sweeteners now and like all things, we can then make an informed decision ourselves.
P.S. Share this with friends to help them learn the difference too 🙂