This fructose is making me fatty

20 March 2012

At a glance

Research in this WellBeing Natural Health & Living News item was sourced from: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Obesity is rampant in society these days. There are many possible contributing factors to this but ultimately it comes down to lack of exercise and consuming too many foods that lack nutrition and provide harmful substances at the same time. For a long time there have been concerns over the amount of fructose that people are consuming in modern diets and now a new paper has illustrated just how all this fructose could be making us fat.

Previous research has established that increased fructose intake causes fat accumulation around body organs and resistance to insulin even when total kilojoule intake is moderate. The question is exactly how is it doing it and why don’t all people react in exactly the same way to fructose consumption?

Now researchers from universities around the world have conducted a series of animal-based studies and found that in the body fructose can be metabolised by an enzyme that has two forms. One form of the enzyme (fructokinase C) results in fructose leading to fatty liver, obesity, and resistance to insulin (a feature of type 2 diabetes). The other form of the enzyme (fructokinase A) appears to protect the body against these same problems in response to sugar.

The researchers who conducted the new study point out that the two opposing actions of the two different enzymes may be why some people will develop diabetes or metabolic syndrome in response to fructose while others will not.

For you of course, the question becomes where is the fructose in your diet? Fructose is a sugar found in fruit but in whole fruit there is also fibre and other nutrients present to delay the absorption of the sugar and help with metabolism. The problem comes when you drink too much fruit juice as the juicing takes away the fibre and concentrates the sugars.

The other area of even greater concern is in processed foods. High fructose corn syrup is used extensively as a sweetener in soft drinks and other manufactured foods. You can limit your juice intake but do you know when you are eating high fructose corn syrup? The remedy to this lack of control is to eat simple unprocessed foods as often as possible. It might take a bit of effort to begin with but it could be the best way to be healthy and stay trim as well.

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