Friday, January 15, 2010

Fructose : Scary Facts and Solutions

Few months ago I wrote about Scary facts of Cooking in North America. That post was well commented and had great reviews too. The whole idea behind writing such post was very clear, one to make everyone look deep in their lifestyle; two understand what is going wrong with it. Sometimes we just follow the trend without our brain cells actually working. But when we sit down and let ponder for a while a very different approach remains in front of us. I want your some time to ponder on this topic too as it remains a very important. They are some scary fact, but understand fear would not help us, understanding the issue and finding solutions for the issue can really solve the issue.

Facts about Fructose :
In a recent long term survey conducted by Health and Nutrition Examination Survey it was found and confirmed that the intake of Fructose in North Americans have increased to extreme level. This intake was noticed more by teenagers rather than adults, although the rate looks scary for all age group. The fact that was more to be worried about was that this fructose intake was not through natural sources, but came from artificial and more so in the form of Soft Carbonated drink. The reports also said that around 12% of everyday calorie required by teenagers comes from fructose, which means fewer intakes of milk and fruits. The scientist where also worried about the increasing obesity rate in kids and youths. One may find one or two scientific papers linking the influence of fructose on high obesity rate.

What is Fructose?
Fructose is basically a monosaccharide (simple sugar), that the body can use for energy. Normally it is found in Honey, fruits, berries, melons and some root vegetable in its natural form. It was once understood that fructose could replace natural sugar as it has very low glycemic index, which means it does not cause blood sugar rise. Another interesting thing about fructose is that it has a very unusual metabolism. Normally glucose is digested in our blood system itself, but fructose does not. The metabolism of fructose happens in our liver. And here is the most unusual thing about fructose, if eaten in excess the liver when it cannot over take that load to metabolizes, changes this fructose to triglyceride and release it in our blood stream.

Fructose in Our Diet:
As said before in its natural form fructose is available in most of the fruits and berries and other roots. It is also available in High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), soft carbonated drinks and as preservatives in most of the canned products.  It is said that a can of chopped tomatoes contain 2.5 gm of fructose, a can of regular soda contains around 23 gm.

 Health Hazards about Fructose:

As said before excess fructose in our body gets converted into triglyceride, so the next time you drink a can of soda, what you are actually doing is increasing your triglycerides level for sure.
Studies show that fructose in small children s also increase uric acid in their body, which means that children of today can be affected with Gout at a very early age.
Another study shows that fructose consumption has to be blamed for the increasing cases of Non alcoholic fatty liver diseases.

 Here are few of the solutions which I think can be useful:
  1. First and foremost look out for more natural sugars in our diet rather than artificial. Crave sweet... why not eat more fruits. Try it.
  2. Replace the craving of soft drinks with some fresh squeezed juices.
  3. Give milk instead to your kids instead of pop or any other drinks.
  4. How about "Nimbu pani" or Lemon water... best alternative to cool and quench one's thirst.
  5. Avoid canned food as much as possible and look out for more and more fresh vegetables and products.

Posted By Sudeep

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9 comments: on "Fructose : Scary Facts and Solutions"

Sheila said...

When you take into consideration that the average American consumes 150 1bs of sugar a year, we have a problem. Most of this sugar consumption comes from soda pop. The average American drinks 57 gallons of soda pop a year.

Soda and sweet deserts are not the only culprits. You will find sugar in products that you might not consider sweet, like bread, beer, yogurt and baby food.

One of my favorite rants is on yogurt. Advertising campaigns give you the idea that those fruit yogurts are good for you. Yet they are packed with sugar. Now they are putting fiber in yogurt to make it sound even more nutritious. Oh, and you get the benefit of all those pro-biotics. It is almost laughable. You can eat all the pro-biotics you want, but if you are eating all that sugar you might as well save your bucks.


Sudeep Chitnis said...

You are so right in explaining the consumption of Sugar from other sources Sheila. I completely do agree with it. I think so it was in the book "In defense of food" where I read , shop as if you are with your great great grandmother and watch what she would shop for your home. I am sure that clears a lot of other clutter from our dinning table. I like this quote a lot .

Ralph said...

I find it interesting that fructose is natural and occurs naturally in many foods. So much attention is made about unnatural chemicals used in foods and yet there are natural substances that can hurt as well. Is it just an unnatural amount of fructose that causes the problem or should we avoid everything that contains fructose. Should we sweeten with glucose instead?

Sudeep Chitnis said...

@Ralph: The whole idea of this post is that look out for Naturally occurring sugar rather than artificial sugar. So your question in regards to fructose or glucose, both can be same if they are human made rather than natural.
What do you say ?

Ralph said...

So is natural fructose different from artificial fructose. Wouldn't it be called something else if it were different?

Sudeep Chitnis said...

No Ralph, both fructose are same.It is the amount that is the biggest issue. In fruits fructose could be found in a very very small amount, one may say negligible. But when it comes in artificial food the amount of fructose is very high. That is the main issue.

Ching Ya said...

I'm also trying to take more fruits whenever I'm craving for soft drinks or junk food. It prevents me to crave for unhealthy food since I'm full. :) Of course I still give myself some treat occasionally but in a reasonable volume. hihi..

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Jason Sandeman said...

I would like to comment on this as well. I believe that HFCS is the root of the problem with people and weight. Back in the 90s we stopped using cane sugar, and started using the subsidized corn syrup. The reason it is so bad is that our body does nto know what to do with it. Soda in particular used to be bad because it would rot out your teeth. Now it is increasing insulin resistance. That is what causes the weight. I know this because I dropped almost 50 pounds just by quitting soda. I now drink a lot of ice water.

Sudeep Chitnis said...

Hey Jason , wohh that is nice to know about your own personal experiences. Thanks for sharing with us .

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