Fructose is the sweetest sugar on the planet. It can be found in fruit and honey. Depending on the fruit type, the amount of fructose can be different.
Remember! Even though the glycemic index of fructose is really low, it’s not recommended as an everyday sweetener, as it turns into fat in our body. You may read more about glycemic index here .
Here are just examples:
|Fructose content in g per 100 g of fruit|
|Fruit type||Fructose content|
|Very high fructose content||Raisins
|High fructose content||Grapes
|Medium fructose content||Blueberries
|Low fructose content||Plum
You can find an extended list here.
Fructose is also present in sucrose (commonly known as table sugar, where together with glucose it creates disaccharide molecules), high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, and maple syrup.
While glucose is metabolized in every cell of your body and enters the bloodstream directly, fructose is processed exclusively in the liver, where it is changed into fat. This is why, being the sweetest naturally occurring carbohydrate, it also has the lowest glycemic index of all natural sugars.
Does that mean we can enjoy the sweet taste with no limits?
When fructose is consumed with glucose in sucrose (imagine a spoonful of table sugar sprinkled on your morning muesli), glucose is metabolized in every cell and will end up in the bloodstream, affecting our blood sugar and insulin level. The stimulation of insulin provokes the fat cells to prepare for fat storage. Fructose is metabolized in the liver into fat, which is what the fat cells are waiting for. Fat storage takes place in the liver and in other parts of our body.
In the long term, fructose affects both glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, contributing to high blood fats and hypertension.
Even though fructose has a low glycemic index, it should not be overused, which oftentimes happens nowadays. Remember that high-fructose corn syrup is added to many types of processed food. Depending on its composition, it can have as much as 90% fructose (only 5% glucose and 5% other sugars; you can read more about HFCS here and here)), and it is extremely difficult to control our intake of fructose.
What can we do?
The best solution is to avoid all processed, sweetened products. If you must use it, choose those that are sweetened with sucrose, cane sugar, or other natural sweeteners.
Is an apple a day a good option?
Fruits in limited amounts are great. Choose seasonal fruit. Less ripe ones will have a lower sugar content. Avoid too much dried fruit (read more about dried fruit here), eat fruit with the skin on if possible (more fiber), and choose regional fruits that have not been transported a long way.