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Is fructose good or bad for you? It’s time to find out!

Published on:25 August 2021, 19:01pm IST
There has been much debate around the consumption of fructose, which is essentially a natural sugar. But is it good for you or does it cause certain negative effects?
Geetika Sachdev
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fructose benefits
Do not consume excess fructose. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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For as long as we can remember, health experts have repeated time and again that sugar is terrible for health. But does that apply to refined sugar or do natural sugars also come under this ambit? The bone of contention here is fructose, which has been much debated for quite some time. Before we arrive at a conclusion if fructose is good or bad for you, let’s first know what fructose really is. 

It is a natural sugar that is present in fruits, fruit juices, certain veggies and honey. But while these are all healthy foods, it is also a component of high-fructose corn syrup, which is made from corn starch, and is a part of sodas and candies. There are certain studies that also show a strong link between high-fructose foods and obesity, and other diseases such as diabetes and certain kinds of cancers. 

Is fructose harmful for health?

It really depends on the way through which you are consuming fructose. For instance, if you get it through fresh fruit and vegetables, it is healthy. But processed forms of fructose are bad for health. There are certain studies that reveal that the body doesn’t process fructose like other sugars. In fact, if a person consumes fructose in large amounts, it stimulates the body to deposit additional fat, especially in the liver. This could also give rise to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

fructose benefits
Excess fructose consumption may cause leptin resistance, disturbing body fat regulation and contributing to obesity. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As per a 2017 literature review, consuming fructose in large amounts could trigger inflammation that could lead to insulin resistance, increased development of fat, higher risk of obesity, as well as more intake of food. 

But how can we be so sure?

The issue here is that it is difficult for researchers to distinguish between the effects of fructose and glucose, because they are generally present together in certain foods. Moreover, some studies also argue that sugary drinks contain fructose, but they are also high in calories. This could also be a big reason for increasing obesity. 

It is important to note that fructose does not trigger the release of insulin nor leptin, which tells a person when they are full. So, in certain cases, fructose could be more harmful than other sugars, because you just wouldn’t know when to stop!

The last word

So ladies, it’s not like you have to give up on fructose. Just make sure to go for natural sources like agave syrup, apple juice, apples, dry figs, honey, licorice, pears and prunes. There are certain veggies that contain fructose, including asparagus, chicory roots, leeks and onions. Limit your consumption of sodas and candies, and you’re good to go! 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.