Fructose, a monosaccharide, is naturally present in fruits and is used in many food products as a sweetener. Fructose or fruit sugar, the intensely sweet sugar of fruit, is made by rearranging the atoms in glucose molecules. Fructose occurs naturally in fruits, in honey, and as part of table sugar. However, most fructose is consumed in sweet beverages, desserts, and other foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or other added sugars. Glucose and fructose are the most common monosaccharides in nature.
Fructose is also called levulose, or fruit sugar. In many processed foods, it comes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. This syrup is manufactured from corn and is used to sweeten soft drinks, desserts, candies, and jellies. Fructose consumption has increased greatly in the USA since the 1970s, when high-fructose corn syrup started to be widely used in food processing. High-fructose corn syrup is the major sweetening agent used by the food industry. Galactose is produced by the digestion of lactose, the major carbohydrate in milk.
Even though fructose has a five-sided ring structure, it is still classified as a hexose sugar because it contains a total of six carbons. While fructose is abundant in fruits and vegetables, the majority of fructose in the Western diet comes from foods made with high-fructose corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a widely used sweetener found in soft drinks, fruit juice beverages, and a variety of other foods. Derived from corn, HFCS consists of almost equal amounts of fructose and glucose. It is used so extensively by food manufacturers that it now accounts for approximately 7% of total energy intake in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the typical American consumes approximately 35 pounds of HFCS per year. In fact, consumption of foods and beverages sweetened with HFCS now exceeds that of those sweetened with table sugar.
Basically, fructose has exactly the same chemical formula as glucose—C6H12O6—but its structure differs. The arrangement of the atoms in fructose stimulates the taste buds on the tongue to produce the sweet sensation. Fructose occurs naturally in fruits and honey; other sources include products such as soft drinks, ready-to-eat cereals, and desserts that have been sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup
Food Sources of Fructose
|Food name||Weight (g)||Fructose (g)|
Health Benefits of Fructose
Here let’s know some health benefits of Fructose:
- Helpful for diabetic patients
Historically, in the nutritional management of diabetes mellitus, the ingestion of fructose was recommended as a sweetener for diabetics because it causes smaller increases in blood glucose following ingestion compared to similar amounts of glucose, sucrose, or starches. In fact, fructose, in small quantities, increases the hepatic uptake of glucose and promotes glycogen storage, probably by stimulating the activity of hepatic glucokinase. Also, in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus, the addition of a small amount of fructose to an oral glucose tolerance test improves the glycemic response, indicating improved glycemic control. It must be emphasized, however, that the consumption of large quantities of fructose is not recommended, particularly for diabetics who, as a group, are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, because of potentially adverse effects of fructose on lipid metabolism, body weight regulation, and oxidative stress that may contribute to diabetic complications.
Side effects of Fructose
- Lead High Triglycerides
The review of journal showed that it lowers HDL cholesterol and increase triglycerides. Liver is responsible to handle burden of metabolizing fructose. It metabolically varies on the way glucose is handled. When liver extract fructose from bloodstream, it could modify fructose into various substances. Some fructose is transformed into triglycerides which is a type of fat.
- Metabolic Side Effects
Animal and human data shows that high fructose could cause metabolic problems. High fructose causes insulin resistance and diabetes in animals. Moreover, experiment shows that fructose promotes liver fat. It is noted that intake of fructose from two or more colas a day promotes the chances of gallstones and also chronic kidney stones.
High fructose corn syrup accounts 40 percent of sweeteners which are added to food or other beverages. It is noted that the way fructose is digested promotes the chances that body will store calories from fructose as fat instead of using it as a source of immediate energy. Moreover, fructose is unsuccessful to stimulate leptin which is a hormone with a role in regulating appetite or food intake according to review.
- Effect on liver
Fructose is metabolized by liver and generates stress on liver detoxification system. The metabolism of fructose in liver cause harmful effects such as formation of uric acid, triglycerides and free radicals. Excess intake of fructose lead to development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Cardiovascular problems
Excess intake of fructose leads to metabolic syndrome which is a combination of five medical conditions such as high triglycerides, large waistline, low HDL levels, high fasting glucose level and high blood pressure. It increases risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
- Form uric acid
Uric acid is a normal waste product which is found in blood. The metabolic process which involves in breakdown of fructose could result buildup of uric acid. It is an inflammatory factor which promotes free radical stress in the body. It lowers nitric oxide levels which results chronic tension and contraction in arterial smooth muscle cells. High level of uric acid are related with gout, kidney disease, high blood pressure and being overweight.