Please don’t take us wrong. Fructose is not potassium cyanide; it’s not that fructose itself is bad – it is the HUGE AMOUNT of it we regularly consume that makes it dangerous.
Wikipedia says that according to a study by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, about one-fifth of the U.S. population ages 2 years and over consumed diet drinks on a given day in 2009‒2010, and 11% consumed 16 fluid oz. of diet drinks or more. Overall, the percentage consuming diet drinks was higher among females compared with males. The percentage consuming diet drinks was similar for females and males at all ages except among 12- to 19-year-olds, where a higher percentage of females than males consumed diet drinks. A higher percentage of non-Hispanic white persons consumed diet drinks compared with non-Hispanic black and Hispanic persons. The study included calorie-free and low-calorie versions of soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and carbonated water.
Where does huge amount of fructose come from?
To make it short: 95% of all mass produced soft drinks, sweets (candies, donuts, pastries, cookies, ice cream etc.), sauces (including ketchup) and salad dressings are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Why? Because it is a few times sweeter than table sugar and cheaper to produce.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
In the ingredient list, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may be hidden under different names such as glucose-fructose, isoglucose and glucose-fructose syrup. It is made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose. HFCS is less expensive and easier to handle. But there is always a “but”.
Genetically modified maize (corn) strains are now in wide use in multiple countries. GM maize has not passed the test of time and raised great concern with respect to health effects, impact on other insects and impact on other plants via gene flow. Although it’s not completely clear how it affects human health, but it’s a proven fact that when in the late 1970s HFCS became a sucrose replacement for honey bees in the United States, bees started dying. Since then HFCS has been investigated as a possible source of bee colony collapse disorder.
It has been known for years that cancer seems to have a sweet tooth. Back in 1931, the Nobel laureate in medicine, German Otto Warburg, first discovered that tumors and cancers both use sugars to “feed” themselves and/or to increase in size. In order to proliferate, cancer cells seem to prefer feeding on fructose-rich sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS); the reason is that HFCS is being metabolized by cancer cells most quickly and easily. Obviously, high-fructose corn syrup is considered the main culprit.
Why fructose is so damaging?
There are two main reasons for that:
- Fructose is metabolized in the body in a much different way than glucose. Glucose can be easily used by every cell, whereas the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on the liver.
- People are consuming fructose in enormous amounts.
Anyway, whether excessive fructose comes from fruit or high-fructose corn syrup, over consumption of it is damaging to our health:
7 Reasons to Lower Fructose Intake
Unlike glucose, which can be used for energy by any cell in the body, fructose in high amounts is a toxin that can only be metabolized in the liver. The job of the liver is to get rid of it, mainly by transforming it into fat and sending that fat to the belly.
In the liver, insulin is not involved into fructose breakdown. Fructose excess leads to insulin resistance and damages the liver causing a new condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Actually, fructose has the same effects on the liver as alcohol, which is already well known as a liver toxin.
Fructose absorption occurs in the small intestine via special transporters, for which it competes with glucose. Over-consumption of fructose may result in delivery of unabsorbed fructose into the large intestine, which causes more water to be drawn into the large intestine leading to diarrhoea. Additionally, the excessive fructose becomes a source of nutrients for the gut flora resulting in a higher production of fatty acids, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and other gases due to fermentation causing gastrointestinal side effects that mimic irritable bowel syndrome. Moreover, this creates gut flora imbalance promoting bacterial overgrowth and the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Many studies have associated high fructose consumption with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. It could be through the increased level of uric acid leading to hyperuricemia which is a known predictor for high blood pressure. Consuming beverages with high levels of high fructose corn syrup caused heightened levels of “bad” cholesterol, which are lipid/lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Fructose increases uric acid production, which, in excess, can cause gout, kidney stones and precipitate or aggravate hypertension.
It was found that drinking high-fructose beverages results in lower insulin and leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite and metabolism to maintain a normal weight. It’s a proven fact that leptin and insulin decrease and ghrelin increases appetite. Large amounts of fructose increase the likelihood of weight gain by rapidly causing leptin resistance. Leptin resistant people tend to gain fat and become obese really easily.
Fructose is not carcinogen; it does not cause cancer. However, cancer cells thrive and proliferate very well with fructose as their energy source.