What is Fructose for? Benefits and properties

The fructose is a type of sugar that is consumed in several products: ketchup, soft drinks, energy drinks, cereals, cookies, cakes, ice creams, breads etc. Many believe that it is the sugar of fruits. Part of this is true, but the fructose in processed foods is derived from corn and not from fruits.

The fructose is a major sugars in fruit, some others present in greater quantities are sucrose and glucose .That fructose that we see on processed food labels is derived from corn: it’s corn syrup. Processed food producers are sweetening a lot of what we eat with large amounts of this fructose derived from corn, which, in turn, is often genetically modified.

What are the consequences of excessive intake of fructose to health ?

The excess of corn syrup in the food means the intake of extra calories and consequently leads to an undesirable weight gain. These extra pounds can also be associated with health problems such as increased blood pressure , diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome .

How do I reduce my sugar intake ?

The best way to reduce your intake of corn syrup and other types of sugar added to processed foods is to pay attention to the packaging of the products and their labels with food composition and calorie intake tables . The sugars added to food appear on labels with the names: corn syrup, fructose , sucrose, glucose , corn sweetener, levulose, honey and dextrose .

The ideal is to limit the intake of these ingredients and maintain the consumption of sugar from natural fruits. So, in addition to consuming a purer type of sugar , you also increase your intake of fiber and antioxidants.

The American Heart Association ‘s recommendations for adding sugar are: no more than 100 calories per day for sugars added to foods for most women, and no more than 150 calories per day for most men.

In practice, what can you do to reduce your intake of artificially sweetened foods?

  • Reduce or eliminate the use of soft drinks.
  • Do not buy canned sweets in supermarkets. If you do not want to be without sweets, give preference to homemade sweets prepared with natural fruits and sweetened with little sugar .
  • Cereal bars can be high in corn syrup between grains. Avoid consuming this type of food. There are options on the market with low sugar content or even exempt from adding sugar .
  • Fruit jellies: prefer those sweetened with concentrated grape juice.
  • Do not overdo ketchup, industrialized salad dressing, barbecue sauce, packaged soups. These foods have a high content of added sugar .
  • Avoid yogurts with fruits in the background. Corn syrup is used to prepare these “fruit jellies” that are at the bottom of the pot. Prefer low-fat yogurt and low – calorie .
  • Snack bars and restaurants that serve quick snacks (the so-called fast foods) usually serve products with a lot of sugar and sodium, which is not good for your health .
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruit.
  • When eating chocolate, choose the bitter or bitter ones, with a higher concentration of cocoa.
  • Always look at the labels of the food you put inside your home.

Benefits of your contribution

Fructose in sport.

The intake of carbohydrates during prolonged exercise helps to delay fatigue and consumed at the end of exercise, help to recover muscle and liver glycogen deposits. Fatigue during prolonged exercise is largely due to the lack of carbohydrates which causes an inadequate oxidation radius of carbohydrates, when consuming carbohydrates during exercise the blood glucose level is maintained , thus avoiding hypoglycemia and it is possible to maintain the oxidation radius of carbohydrates necessary to provide energy during exercise. Fructose consumption with other carbohydrates improves the oxidation rate of glucosein addition, by providing energy with a lower glycemic index, it contributes to a more progressive energy delivery than glucose alone.

Some studies indicate that consuming sports drinks that combine glucose and fructose has better benefits than the same concentration of glucose alone. This allows to increase the concentration of nutrients without increasing the osmolarity of the drink to decrease its absorption in the intestine (always within limits). The greater the osmolarity, the lower the gastric emptying, and therefore, the longer the absorption time. For example, it has been observed that the combination of a sports drink that contains 4% glucose and 4% fructose, has a better absorption rate than an equivalent drink with 8% glucose .

It is believed that the synergistic effect of glucose and fructose consumption during physical exercise is due to the fact that both monosaccharides do not compete for the same carrier and can be absorbed simultaneously. Once the plasma glucose is absorbed it is mainly captured by the muscle cells to serve as an energy source, while the fructose is used mainly by the liver to form glucose that can be stored in glycogen deposits or leave the bloodstream again maintaining blood glucose. Fructose also increases blood lactate, but it is used quickly and with great effectiveness by muscle cells during exercise.


Fructose is absorbed in the intestine, mainly through the GLUT 5 Transporter, since the increase in blood fructose in the blood only increases the release of insulin by the pancreas. Part of this glucose is metabolized in the liver to produce glucose but with a much lower glycemic index than glucose . Fructose that has not been converted to glucoseit can enter the cells via the same carrier without the need for insulin. Therefore, fructose has been widely used as a sweetener for diabetics, its consumption is safe whenever it is consumed in moderation, however, one should not consume more than 25% of the total daily calories from fructose to prevent possible disorders in lipid metabolism and gastrointestinal disorders.


There are no recommended specifications for the consumption of fructose.


Fructose consumption is generally considered safe. However, ingesting high doses (50 g adult or 2 g / kg / day child) can cause gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, colic and flatulence.

Fructose is able to skip the enzymatic control (phosphofrutokinase) that limits glycolytic and lipogenic pathways. For this reason, excessive consumption of fructose can stimulate the synthesis of fatty acids, triglycerides or cholesterol. Excessive fructose consumption was associated with less feeling of satiety, weight gain, increased blood lactate, metabolic syndrome, resistance to insulin action and diabetes mellitus, but small or moderate amounts do not cause these side effects. It must be consumed in moderation, it cannot be consumed in an unlimited way and it is necessary to try to never assume 25% of the total calories ingested. Like all foods, the most recommended is to consume food in a balanced way and within a varied diet.


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