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Fructose: Sugar's Dark Side

Fructose: Sugar's Dark Side

Sugar is sweet, but one would be hard pressed to consider it a "super food." Some people actually refer to it as the "devil."


Sugar is actually made up of two simple sugars. Half is the sugar called glucose, the body's most basic fuel. The other half is another sugar known as fructose, which sounds harmless - almost as if it is derived simply from fruit. Health scientists have long held suspicions about fructose, but most evidence against the simple sugar was circumstantial. A new study has illustrated that this form of sugar is truly bad news.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis devised a complicated study pitting fructose against glucose that involved drinks sweetened with the different sugars. Volunteers drank the equivalent of 3 sodas a day. The participants drinking the fructose sweetened beverage had increased LDL "bad" cholesterol and blood fats, while the glucose drinkers had no rise in these risks for heart disease. Add to those heart disease risks the fact the fructose caused a decrease in insulin sensitivity - a sign of risk for type 2 diabetes. Interestingly enough, the fructose drinkers gained an average of 3 pounds during the 3 month study and the glucose drinkers gained no weight.

Preliminary data from new studies show that regular sugar and high-fructose corn syrup each seem to have the same effect as fructose alone -- even though both are only about half fructose and half glucose (normal corn syrup is 100% glucose).

So when folks ask me if sugar is the "devil", I might just have to tell them the answer may already be in their hearts.

Read more about the study at WebMD.

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