Fructose Consumption Leads to Obesity?
Fructose, also known as fruit sugar, is a naturally occurring simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables and also in honey. It is present in fruit and vegetable juice, as well. Fructose is a monosaccharide, meaning it is the simplest form of sugar.
How It’s Used in Food and Drinks
Fructose is added to many processed foods as sweetener, and is rarely consumed on its own. It is found in soft drinks, salad dressings and sauces, and many bread products. If you check labels it may be listed as corn syrup or corn sweetener.
How It Works in Your Body
As fructose is fairly low on the glycemic index and does not cause blood sugar to rise significantly, it was thought for a time that it was good alternative to the popular table sugar. This thinking has changed for many, as the circumstances of our lives and diets have evolved to the point where we consume vastly more fructose than we did 30 or so years ago. When the body is overloaded with fructose it seems to have trouble digesting it, which puts us at risk for various health issues. Medical College of Georgia researchers found that teens whose diets are high in fructose were associated with these risk factors: higher blood pressure, diabetes-related test indicators such as higher fasting glucose and insulin resistance and inflammation that contribute to heart and vascular disease.
While the effects on the body are certainly of concern, a new UCLA study, published in the Journal of Physiology May 15 edition, found that ‘a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning -- and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption’, this according to Science Daily. So it’s important to realize that fructose is truly a two-pronged issue, with the ability to affect both the body and the mind.
Fructose and the Obesity Connection
As in many health and weight related issues, there are differing opinions about the definitive answer on fructose and obesity. A new St. Michael’s Hospital study states that fructose can be helpful in some cases. “Over the last decade, there have been connections made between fructose intake and rates of obesity,” said Dr. John Sievenpiper, a senior author of the study. “However, this research suggests that the problem is likely one of overconsumption, not fructose.” The study, which reviewed 18 trials with 209 participants who had Type 1 and 2 diabetes, found fructose greatly improved their blood sugar control, and improvement was equivalent to what are potential results with an oral antidiabetic drug. What’s more, Dr. Sievenpiper reported the researchers saw benefit without adverse effects on cholesterol, body weight, uric acid, or blood pressure. In war against sugar, Dr. Robert Lustig, a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco, has long been on the front lines. Lustig has a special interest in childhood obesity and has been vocal on his beliefs that natural sugar fructose, in large amounts, can be harmful to humans, period, and especially to children. He says processed foods are full of sugar and because of the way the body processes fructose, it can lead to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.