When present in its natural form, fructose is a type of sweetener that has a positive effect. However, fructose is also a component of high-fructose corn syrup.
It is a type of artificial sweetener made from cornstarch, and is often an additive to unhealthy foods, including candy and soda.
Pure fructose has a sweeter taste than other types of sweeteners. As a result, its use is also not too much in addition to food or drinks, to be able to provide an equivalent sweet taste.
There are various sources of the sweetener fructose present in most foods. Examples include honey, table sugar, unsweetened fruit juice, and agave syrup. In addition, fructose is also found in caramel, sorghum, liquorice, pears, and prunes.
Then, is it true that fructose provides benefits to the body?
Fructose Is More Beneficial to the Body, Myth or Fact?
Fruits and vegetables are said to be two healthy food sources with natural fructose content. However, not only that, they are also high in fiber and low in calories.
In fact, it's pretty hard to get to that dangerous level of fructose consumption, even if you eat a lot of fruit in one day. This is because fruits and vegetables contain less fructose than added sugar.
So, it is true that fructose has a positive effect on the body when compared to other types of sweeteners. However, it should still be noted that fructose consumption can also trigger harmful effects on the body.
This happens when a person gets used to an unhealthy diet, with high calories and consuming too much added sugar. As a result, the benefits will not apply to the natural sugars found in vegetables and fruit.
Side Effects of Excessive Fructose Consumption
Fructose is a type of sugar that undergoes different metabolic processes in the body by glucose. Simply put, glucose can be used by every cell in the body.
Meanwhile, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in a significant amount. When a person eats too many foods high in fructose and calories, the liver will experience overload, and will convert fructose into fat.
Consumption of fructose coupled with high-calorie foods will be the main trigger for various serious health problems. For example type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, and heart disease.
A study in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care mentions the dangers of fructose in the body. Excessive consumption will trigger the body to store fat reserves, especially in the liver.
This condition will have an impact on fatty liver disease that does not occur due to alcohol or non-alcoholic fatty liver. Another study in Nutrients also mentions the dangers of excessive fructose consumption, namely:
- Increases the risk of inflammation in the body that leads to insulin resistance.
- Increased fat reserves in the body.
- Increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Not only that, a study in The Journal of Pediatrics tried to determine the impact of consuming drinks with high fructose content, on adolescents aged 12 to 16 years in Taiwan.
As a result, it was found that adolescents who consumed more drinks experienced an increase in insulin resistance. This condition will also increase the risk of various dangerous diseases, including:
- Thickening and hardening of the arteries.
- Heart health problems in adults.
Although there is evidence to suggest that excessive fructose consumption has negative health effects, researchers have difficulty separating the effects of this sugar in food from the effects of other forms of sugar.
Because foods with high added fructose generally also contain other sugars that are equally high, one of which is fructose.
It can be concluded that, fructose does have benefits for the body. However, when coupled with other added sugars, the effect on the body is actually dangerous.