Is fruit sugar (fructose) healthy or bad? What is the final say in its effects? The answer is in this report.
Fructose is the main sugar found naturally in honey and fruits, such as dates, raisins, figs, apples, and fresh fruit juices, and is found in small amounts in some vegetables such as carrots.
Fructose is a monosaccharide. In contrast, table sugar (white sugar) is a compound sugar made up of a molecule of fructose and a molecule of glucose.
Fructose is also found in glucose-fructose syrups, such as high fructose corn syrup. These syrups are made from corn and wheat, and are used as sweeteners in a variety of foods such as jams, preserves and desserts.
Fructose is digested in the liver to produce mainly glucose, small amounts of glycogen, and a small amount of fatty acids.
Studies show that eating large amounts of fructose may cause changes in the body’s energy metabolism and may lead to health problems.
Acute liver disease in children
According to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology and the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trus website, excess fructose in the diet is associated with severe liver disease in children.
Researchers in Southampton and Rome found that excessive fructose consumption was closely related to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children.
In a study of 271 children and adolescents, those who drank more sugary drinks were more likely to develop advanced liver disease, known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a term describing a group of conditions in which there is a build-up of fat in the liver and usually appears in people who are overweight or obese, according to the UK National Health Service.
A healthy liver does not contain fat, or a small amount of it, but in this disease large amounts of fat accumulate in the liver.
The 5-year study, led by Professor Christopher Byrne and his colleague Dr. Eleonora Scorleti at the Southampton Biomedical Research Center, and Professor Valerio Nobili of Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome found that 40% of the participants had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can cause symptoms Include stomach pain and extreme fatigue in children.
Cirrhosis and cancer of the liver
In adulthood, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can progress to cirrhosis and cancer.
The patients with the highest levels of fructose consumption in the study also had higher levels of uric acid, which causes gout in adults.
Almost all study participants ate regular snacks in the morning (95%) and afternoon (89%).
The morning meal consisted largely of biscuits, pizza, and salty foods, while the afternoon snacks included biscuits and yogurt, and about 90% consumed soft or fizzy drinks at least once a week.
The average daily intake of fructose among non-alcoholic fatty liver patients was 70 grams, compared to 53 grams in children and adolescents without the condition.
Head of the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Southampton, Professor Byrne, said, “Our results indicate that excessive fructose consumption may be harmful to the child’s liver due to the relationship between high fructose consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in young children.”
“These data confirm the importance of ensuring that parents ensure that their children consume sugary drinks, snacks and sweets in moderation,” added Byrne.
Obesity and diabetes
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the main source of fructose in the diet comes from sugars containing fructose and sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup in sugar-sweetened beverages, and consistently consuming these drinks was associated with an increased risk of infection. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Among the main supposed mechanisms for these problems are the negative effects of blood sugar, an increase in hepatic metabolism of fructose, which leads to the formation of new fats, the production of uric acid, and the accumulation of visceral fat (abdominal fat, rumen) and ectopic fat. The latter is the excess fat that is stored in tissues other than adipose tissue, and which usually contains only small amounts of fat, such as the liver, skeletal muscles, heart and pancreas.
And ectopic fats can interfere with cellular function, and thus organ function, and are associated with insulin resistance, and thus type 2 diabetes.
Therefore, several data indicate that fruit sugar is less healthy than many people think. Contrary to what is common, it can have negative effects on health, according to what Deutsche Welle reported on the German site, Fitbook.
Stefan Kapch, a researcher at the German Institute for Nutrition Research in Potsdam and at the Charité Hospital in the capital, Berlin, says that both types of sugar are chemically similar, even if table sugar is what is absorbed by the body before the other.
Fructose can cause a nonalcoholic fatty liver and increase the risk of high blood pressure and other circulatory system diseases. This is confirmed by the German doctor Kapech: “There is evidence that the body stores fructose in the form of fats in the liver and in the abdomen.”
According to the German Center for Consumer Information, excessive intake of fructose can lead to many digestive troubles, such as stomach pain and diarrhea, and he also called for fruit juices to be consumed in moderation.
The center attributed the reason for this to the inability of the human digestive system to bear the digestion of large quantities of this sugar, which is used in sweetening food instead of regular sugar, pointing out that eating more than 35 grams of fruit sugar – equivalent to two cups of apple juice Per serving is too much even for healthy people.
It is true that it is possible to eat 5 servings of vegetables or fruits, including a cup of juice per day without any problem. However, the German Center stressed the need to reduce the intake of fruit sugar as much as possible, so it recommended that it is better to pay attention when buying any foods to the presence of the word “fructose” Or “fruit sugar” or “fructose and glucose syrup” in the list of contents or not, pointing out that it is better to also eat fruit juices in moderation.
How much is the maximum allowed fructose?
In general, you should reduce your intake of sugars, including fructose. According to the World Health Organization, it is recommended that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake, and a further reduction in this intake to less than 5%, or about 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day. One that brings additional health benefits.
Free sugars include monosaccharides such as glucose and fructose, disaccharides such as table sugar that a manufacturer, cook, or consumer adds to food and beverages, and the sugars naturally present in honey, juices, fruit juices and their concentrated compounds.
a rare disease
There is a disease called “dietary fructose intolerance” (fructose malabsorption), which affects one in every 100,000 “, according to Dr. Stefan Kapch.
The German doctor adds that in this disease there is a deficiency of the enzyme that breaks down fructose in the liver; The result is a metabolic disorder, hypoglycemia and coagulation disorders; Therefore, those who have this inherited disease should not eat any amount, no matter how small, of fructose.
Source : German + Al Jazeera + Deutsche Welle + websites