Fructose (fruit sugar)

Fructose (fruit sugar)

30-08-2016
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What you can achieve by taking it?

  • When taken in small amounts, it has a positive effect on glucose absorption of the liver.
  • When doing a diet, or during periods of intense physical activity you can replenish the glycogen stores in your liver without having an insulin reaction (a characteristic response to most sugars).
  • Occasionally you can sweeten your meals with fructose without an insulin reaction triggered.

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£ 2.57
£ 2.57/kg


Overview

Fructose is listed as ‘fructosum’ in pharmacopeias, it is also called ‘fruit sugar’, and can be found primarily in vegetables, fruits, in some plants and roots, and also in honey. Fructose is a monosaccharide, a simple carbohydrate that is a building block of disaccharides and polisaccharides. It was discovered by a French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847, and was named ‘fructose’ by Englishman William Miller about 10 years later. It is a colorless, odourless, and crystalline solid substance with the best water-solubility of all sugars. It is produced mainly by decomposing cane sugar or corn. It has multiple uses in food industry, and is mainly used as a sweetener of beverages, confectionery, medications (in pharmaceutical industry), and as flavour enhancer. It has a low cost of production and a very sweet flavour, making it a more and more preferred sugar in the food industry. Fructose is 1.73 times sweeter than common table sugar (sucrose). When combined with other sugars or sweeteners the sweet flavour is intensified synergically, but fructose is capable of enhancing other flavours too. Its sweetness diminishes characteristically fast compared to sucrose. Fructose is consumed in monosaccharide form as free fructose, or as part of a disaccharide. When taken as free fructose, it is transformed into glucose the intestines. When consumed as part of a disaccharide, that disaccharide is broken down by a specific enzyme (fructose-1-phosphate-aldolase) into glucose and free fructose, and then these monosaccharides are digested separately. Glucose (also known as grape sugar) enters the blood stream quickly, and triggers an intense insulin reaction in the body, while fructose enters the liver directly through the so called portal vein.

The fructose uptake of the liver is not controlled by insulin levels, and fructose itself does not cause an acute increase in insulin levels. For this reason it is a commonly used sweetener in diabetic food products, but recent studies found that fructose (being a lipogenic substance) raises triglyceride levels in the blood, thus promotes the storage of such sugars in the form of fat. It also increases the risk of insulin resistance, so it became evident that regular fructose intake is not recommended for anyone – individuals with or without diabetes mellitus. However when taken in small quantities, it can optimise the glucose uptake of liver and the synthesis of glycogen. The liver has a capacity to utilise 5–50 grams of fructose a day, but knowing this range is useless, as the current state of fulness in the glycogen storages is unknown. For this reason you should keep the intake of pure fructose to the minimum, and preferably consume this kind of sugar under special circumstances (during prolonged periods of intense physical activities) only.

Why it is worth using?

  • When taken in small amounts, it has a positive effect on glucose absorption of the liver, making it a good component of sports drinks or post-workout formulas.
  • When doing a diet, or during periods of intense physical activity you can replenish the glycogen stores in your liver without having an insulin reaction (a characteristic response to most sugars).
  • Occasionally you can sweeten your meals with fructose without an insulin reaction triggered.

Further benefits

Being much sweeter than other sugars it can reduce carbohydrate intake (not overlooking the limits of usability), as it requires about 40% less fructose to achieve the same sweetness when compared to table sugar. It has a low glycemic index of 19 only.

Other possible uses

It can be used in modest quantities as energy replenishment during and after workouts – an ideal source of energy as a component in carbohydrate mixtures of a sports drink.

How to use it?

Limit the intake of pure fructose to the minimum. As a component in a post-workout carbohydrate mixture a quantity of 10–15 g might be appropriate, while the same amount can be taken in combination with other simple sugars and carbohydrates. Do not take it in itself regularly.

Contraindications

Avoid consuming this kind of sugar if you have fructose intolerance diagnosed, as it means that enzyme fructose-1-phosphate-aldolase (responsible for breaking down fructose) is missing. Lacking this enzyme leaves the body incapable of utilizing fructose, so consuming food containing fructose would lead to hypoglycemia, and liver damage.

Interactions

Not known.

Side effects

Consuming large quantities of fructose can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, and diarrhea. Undigested fructose raises osmotic concentration in the small intestines, and that induces increased water retention in the bowels. This would lead to so called ‘osmotic diarrhea’. Regular intake of fructose would raise triglycerid levels, and that would increase the risk of cardiovascular illnesses significantly, and would also lead to gaining weight. Consuming fructose in (relatively) large quantities can also lead to insulin resistance.

Contra-indications and restrictions

Not applicable.



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