On a fruit diet? Watch out for excess fructose

A fruit diet may not necessarily help you lose weight. Fruits and vegetables are important to any weight-loss diet. In excessive amounts (>50gms per day), fructose can be counter-productive for many and can increase the risk to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. An apple gives you about 6g of fructose and a single serving of a sweetened carbonated beverage can give you up to 20g.

Fructose is a simple sugar present in fruits, fruit juices, honey and is responsible for their sweet taste. Besides fruits, a significant source of fructose in our diets is table sugar, which is made up of 50 per cent fructose and the rest glucose. Nowadays, fructose is cropping in all sorts of foods and drinks, from biscuits to ice creams. Fruits and fruit juices are a disguised form of fructose. Fresh fruit juice may contain about 25g of fructose per glass. Sweetened beverages and fruit juices contribute significantly to high fructose intake in the urban diet worldwide, leading to extra pounds.

Other complications associated with metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation, increased intra-abdominal fat accumulation, leptin resistance.

Fructose intake causes fat to accumulate in the blood and liver. Instead of being used immediately for energy, the fructose is readily converted into triglycerides by the liver. According to the National Institute of Health (United States), the growing incidence of gout, due to high uric acid levels also coincides with a substantial increase in the consumption of soft drinks and fructose.

Fructose can be listed in ingredients under a variety of names like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Food manufacturers prefer to use HFCS in place of sugar for several reasons. It is cheap, increases shelf life, improves texture, easy to use and more stable than simple sugar. Adding a single HFCS-sweetened soft drink to each meal for 10 weeks significantly raises blood fat levels.

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