I recently attended a Nutrition and Health Conference where I heard featured speaker, Robert Lustig, MD, present about sugars and sweeteners. He pointed out that there is definitely a correlation between added sugar and the obesity trends.
His section on fructose particularly stood out to me. Fructose is a sugar found mostly in fruits and their juices and is a part of the molecule sucrose, otherwise known as table sugar. Studies have shown that our intake of fructose has more than tripled since WWII! One source comes from “low fat” foods that increase their sugar content to make the food taste better. 100% of fructose consumed is stored as triglycerides/cholesterol and overworks your liver. It does not increase the insulin in your body, which is why it is a “low glycemic index” food.
Fructose uniquely contributes in promoting “metabolic syndrome,” which can result in high triglycerides, which is a marker for inflammation and puts you at higher risk of health problems. There are a few things to remember about fructose – if you are going to consume foods with high fructose, like fruit, eat the whole fruit so that the fiber in the fruit will slow the absorption of fructose.
Stay away from fruit juices. Keep your fruit servings to 1-2 servings a day. Lastly, the American Heart Association recommends reduction of sugar intake to 9 tsp/day for males and 6 tsp/day for females.