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Fructose, or fruit sugar… When does it become harmful to our health?

The fructose is a simple sugar that’s found naturally in many types of food such as, essentially, in fresh fruits, dried fruits, vegetables and honey. Its taste is similar to that of ordinary sugar although it has a sweetening effect that’s twice the effect of ordinary sugar.

The commercially available fructose takes either of two forms. First, it is frequently found as a glucose-fructose syrup (a syrup made from starch, generally from corn, to which a large amount of fructose is added). This industrial syrup has a sweetening effect that’s much higher than that of ordinary sugar and it is distinguished by its ability to emphasize the taste of the products to which it is added, and it is for these main reasons that it’s widely used in the food industry. Thus, it is found in some processed sugary foods (sugary drinks, sodas, yogurts, breakfast cereals, puddings, ice cream, cookies, cakes, candy, etc.) or salty foods (surimi, low-quality deli, pizza, appetizer cookies, etc.)

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Moreover, fructose is available in the form of powder used in our “home-made” preparations or in some “light” products or the so-called “sugar free” products intended for people wishing to limit their sugar consumption or seeking to lose weight.

Furthermore, and although it is always advisable to consume it in adequate quantities, the consumption of fructose becomes problematic when used excessively or when abusively in its industrial form or, even worse, in its glucose-fructose syrup form which is essentially added to sweetened beverages but also to products in which it is contained in a hidden form. Such consumption can promote, especially in certain individuals, obesity, insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and the increase of triglycerides and uric acid in the blood.

Finally, and even if we use fructose for the sake of reducing our consumption of regular sugar or for losing weight, we must always read the ingredients list to see how much we are actually consuming and in what form it is added. We also have to grab the habit of reducing our sugar consumption, we have to curb our cravings for sugar and avoid becoming addicted to such products that can still be consumed but very occasionally as much as possible.

About Denise Abou Jamra

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