Dietary fructose is present primarily in sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave and fruit. Americans most frequently ingest fructose from sucrose (table sugar), which is 50% fructose and 50% glucose bonded together, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is about 55% fructose, honey is also 55% fructose. Agave, while 'natural' 90% fructose...NOT a health food! The average American in 1960 consumed 2 tsp of sugar/day. In 2011 it is over 65 tsp every day! Fructose consumption accounts for approximately 10.2% of total calories, EMPTY calories I might add. No wonder we have a problem with the rise in cancer, diabetes, liver disease, obesity...
All sugars can be made into triglycerides, a form of body fat; however, once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it's hard to stop it.
Our liver is like a 'traffic cop' that coordinates what we eat including sugars. It turns sugars into energy (if you are active), triglycerides, and cholesterol. Triglycerides are mainly formed in the liver. It is the liver's job, when it encounters glucose, to decide whether the body needs to store the glucose as glycogen, burn it for energy or turn the glucose into triglycerides. Even if you are an athlete, burning sugar for energy is an inefficient and limiting source of energy. This is why marathon runners "Hit the Wall." Your liver can only store 60-90 grams of carbs at a time. If you are an athlete and need more help on getting passed the 'wall' contact me for a consult on better energy sources!
Fructose, on the other hand, enters this metabolic pathway downstream, bypassing the 'traffic cop' and flooding the metabolic pathway. It basically sneaks into the rock concert without a ticket. This 'dumping of fructose' contributes to lots of triglyceride synthesis. So, in the end fructose gets made into fat VERY easily! This also causes 'fatty liver disease.' I am seeing this problem in small children now, not because they are drinking alcohol...they are drinking massive amounts of juice! If you imagine our traditional culture, fruit is a seasonal summer food when we were most active. We didn't have semi trucks shipping in oranges from other countries to a factory squeezing all the fructose out to form a sweet drink. Eating an orange is fine, but drinking 6 of them in a 8 ounce glass is too hard on our children's liver. Different types of fruit have different levels of fructose too. Rhubarb is very low in fructose, where tropical fruits like bananas are very high (see the charts on fruits in all of my books).
Here is an interesting fact... Welches 100% grape juice (NO SUGAR ADDED...just grape juice) has more sugar/fructose in 8 ounces than a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew!
Fructose also has no effect on our hormone Leptin, which tells us to stop eating AND interferes with Ghrelin, which is our hunger hormone. To read more go to HORMONE charts in Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism.
Antioxidants are natural defenses against oxidative stress and may reverse or protect against advanced liver damage. To read more on what are the best antioxidant supplements, check the Supplement Chapter in Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism , which discusses when and how much to take.
"Healthified" Rhubarb Crisp
3/4 cup erythritol (or xylitol)
2 tsp stevia glycerite (omit if using xylitol)
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (or raspberries)
1/3 cup erythritol (or xylitol)
1 tsp stevia glycerite (omit if using xylitol)
1/3 cup crushed almonds/pecans/walnuts
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein (or egg white protein)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, softened
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Beat sweetener, cream cheese, and eggs in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in vanilla and salt. Fold in rhubarb. Pour rhubarb mixture into casserole dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup erythritol and stevia glycerite, 1/3 cup crushed nuts, almond flour, whey and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over pie. Return to oven and bake until filling is set and crust and topping are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Makes 12 servings.
NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per serving):
Traditional Crisp = 327 calories, 25g fat, 2g protein, 65.7 carbs, 2g fiber (63.7g effective carbs!)
“Healthified” Crisp = 286 calories, 25g fat, 10g protein, 6.9 carbs, 3.5g fiber (3.4g effective carbs)
NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per cup)
Rhubarb = 26 calories, 5.5 carbs, 2.2 g fiber (1.3 grams of fructose)
Banana = 200 calories, 51 carbs, 6 g fiber (28 grams of fructose!!!)