What is fructose?
It belongs to the group of monosaccharides, that is, those formed by a single sugar molecule. Chemically it is represented as C6H12O6.
Fructose is found naturally in fruits, which is why it is also known as “fruit sugar.”
Currently it is marketed crystallized as a substitute for sugar. Fructose powder dissolves slightly in water and tastes very sweet. Its production cost lower than that of sugar.
Due to its characteristics, fructose has been used mainly in products for people with diabetes.
Like sugar, fructose can cause tooth decay.
Differences between fructose and sugar
Fructose has the same calories as sugar, that is, it provides us with 4 Kcal. for every gram.
One of the advantages that fructose offers compared to table sugar (sucrose) is that it has greater sweetness. So with less quantity we have the same sweetening effect of sugar with fewer calories.
Fructose is absorbed more slowly than sugar
Another important difference between fructose and table sugar is found in the digestion process: All monosaccharides are mainly absorbed from the intestine (duodenum and jejunum). But unlike the other monosaccharides, fructose has to be transformed into by-products to facilitate its transport.
By having to undergo this transformation process, fructose has a slightly lower glycemic index than sugar, that is, it is absorbed more slowly than glucose.
However, eating a lot of fructose-rich foods will lead to the same hyperglycemic problems as eating a lot of sugar. So like sugar and all sugar-rich foods, fructose should be consumed in moderation.
Fructose in food
Until not long ago, fructose was considered a much safer sugar than other fast-absorbing simple sugars.
In this view, fructose produced little change in blood sugar level and did not stimulate insulin production. For this reason, it was recommended for the diet of people with diabetes and in weight loss diets.
New studies have called into question the supposed properties of fructose:
Is fructose suitable for diabetics?
People with diabetes should be aware that fructose does influence blood sugar level.
The advantages it presents with respect to sucrose is that it can be used in less quantity (fewer calories) and sweetens more. Fructose also has a slightly lower glycemic index.
For these reasons, it is also suitable for reducing calories in weight loss diets and diets for obesity.
But fructose has some dangers, such as that, when used in high doses, it can be more dangerous than sugar because it does not stimulate the production of insulin (which is responsible for regulating blood sugar).
Some people may be intolerant to fructose and other fructose-rich foods like honey.
Fructose intolerance is a genetic disease, which causes in these people the lack of an enzyme necessary to metabolize fructose, called type B aldoase.
They may also be intolerant to sorbitol and table sugar.
People with this disorder should not take fructose as they are at risk of hypoglycemia, with its potentially serious health consequences.
More information on fructose properties
2 November, 2021