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Friday, February 19, 2010

Potential Health Problems Related to Fructose Intake

An article in The January/February 2010 issue of the Nutrition Action Health Letter, a publication of the Center for Science in the Public Interest highlights some potential health problems associated with fructose intake. Aside from the detrimental effects of any added sugar (e.g. empty calories, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, tooth decay) the article points up some problems specific to fructose (not only high-fructose corn syrup):

  • The liver converts virtually all fructose, but not glucose, into fat.
  • Fructose raises blood triglyceride level, an independent risk factor for heart disease
  • Fructose may increase visceral fat (fat around the internal organs) another risk factor for heart disease
  • Fructose intake may raise the risk of gout, a painful joint condition
  • Fructose may suppress the effectiveness of leptin, the body’s appetite-curbing hormone

Drinks and food products sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup are the greatest sources of fructose in the U.S. diet. Whole fruits, the sugar of which is mainly in the form of fructose, is not generally a problem because the amount of fructose in one apple or orange is limited. However, fruit juice is more of a problem because several individual fruits may go into one glass of juice. So it is best to keep eating whole fruits but limit intake of sodas, juice drinks, juices, and syrups.

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