This article on hidden sugar was recommended by nutritionist and yogi Rachel Martino. We all know that cutting down on hidden sugar is a good idea, but it isn’t just how much you eat, but what type of sugar you eat.
AuthorityNutrition.com explains the difference between glucose, which we need for energy, and fructose, which has a different effect on our body.
There are two simple sugars: glucose and fructose.
Glucose comes from starches like potatoes, our bodies produce it and every cell on earth has glucose in it. Glucose is a molecule absolutely vital to life.
Fructose, however, is not. Humans don’t produce fructose and throughout evolutionary history have never consumed it except seasonally when fruit were ripe.
Glucose and fructose are metabolized very differently by the body.
The key thing to realize, is that while every cell in the body can use glucose, the liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts.
When people eat a diet that is high in calories and high in fructose, the liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat.
What’s the best way to cut your fructose consumption? IQuitSugar.com has the following information to help you spot, and reduce, your intake of fructose.
1. Fructose makes up half of sucrose (table sugar).
When people think sugar, they generally think of the granular white stuff you add to tea and coffee. This is called sucrose, which is half glucose and half fructose.
2. Fructose is also in agave, maple, dates and honey.
Ah, yes. The so-called “natural” sugars (despite the fact that sucrose is totally “natural”, too). People often defend agave, dates, honey and maple syrup on their vitamin and mineral content, but the high percentage of fructose outweighs that small benefit. If you want the health benefits of natural sweeteners, just eat a piece or two of whole fruit, a pile of veggies or some whole grains!
3. Fructose is mostly metabolised by the liver.
Unlike glucose, which is readily absorbed into the bloodstream for energy, fructose is primarily metabolised by the liver. And it can’t deal with too much of the stuff at once, so it stores what it can’t get through as fat.
4. Fructose mucks with your appetite.
Ever demolished a whole pack of biscuits… and still had room for more? There might be a perfectly good reason for that. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that fructose doesn’t lower appetite hormones after ingestion like other foodstuffs do, leaving you hungry and prone to overeating.
5. Fruit is the best way to eat fructose.
While we’d never recommend fructose in juices, powders, syrups or dried fruit we have no problem with fresh fruit. Fruit is full of vitamins and minerals, but unlike honey or maple syrup, it has plenty of fibre and water to slow down absorption and keep you full.
Share your favourite sugar-reducing tip in the comments!