Goodbye fructose

As we get deeper into recipes that require some form of sweetener, I see too many people fall into the fructose trap.

Fructose is the stuff that makes sucrose bad. (Sucrose = glucose + fructose.) Dietary glucose is not entirely benign, but fructose is far worse. After wheat, fructose is proving to be a far worse dietary ingredient than previously thought.

Where do you find fructose? Fructose can be found in (roughly in order from worst to least):

High-fructose corn syrup
Maple syrup

I’ve been discussing fructose for a number of years on my Heart Scan Blog. Here’s a post I made from July, 2009 that discusses some of the clinical data that demonstrate the awful effects of fructose:

A carefully-conducted study by a collaborative research group at University of California-Berkeley has finally closed the lid on the fuss over fructose vs. glucose and its purported adverse effects.

The study is published in its entirety here.

Compared to glucose, fructose induced:

1) Four-fold greater intra-abdominal fat accumulation–3% increased intra-abdominal fat with glucose; 14.4% with fructose. (Intraabdominal fat is the variety that blocks insulin responses and causes diabetes and inflammation.)

2) 13.9% increase in LDL cholesterol but double the increase for Apoprotein B (an index of the number of LDL particles, similar to NMR LDL particle number).

3) 44.9% increase in small LDL, compared to 13.3% with glucose.

4) While glucose (curiously) reduced the net postprandial (after-eating) triglyceride response (area under the curve, AUC), fructose increased postprandial triglycerides 99.2%.

The authors propose that fructose specifically increases liver VLDL production, the lipoprotein particle that yields abnormal after-eating particles, increased LDL, and provides building blocks to manufacture small LDL particles. The authors also persuasively propose that fructose metabolism, unlike glucose, is not inhibited (via feedback loop) by energy intake, i.e., it’s as if you are always starving.

Add to this the data that show that fructose increases uric acid (that causes gout and may act as a coronary risk factor), induces leptin resistance, causes metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes), and increases appetite, and it is clear that fructose is yet another common food additive that, along with wheat, is likely a big part of the reason Americans are fat and diabetic.

Fructose is concentrated, of course, in high-fructose corn syrup, comprising anywhere from 42-90% of total weight. Fructose also composes 50% of sucrose (table sugar). Fructose also figures prominently in many fruits; among the worst culprits are raisins (30% fructose) and honey (41% fructose).

Also, beware of low-fat or non-fat salad dressings (rich with high-fructose corn syrup), ketchup, beer, fruit drinks, fruit juices, all of which are rich sources of this exceptionally fattening, metabolism-bypassing, LDL cholesterol/small LDL/ApoB increasing compound. Ironically, this means that many low-fat foods meant to reduce cholesterol actually increase it when they contain fructose in any form.

When you hear or say “fructose,” run the other way, regardless of what the Corn Refiners Association says.

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