Fructose, a sugar widely used in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, is in the news again this week, the findings are very important for all of us. According to ConsumerReports.org, the use of fructose as a processed sugar increased 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, while the Illinois Farm Bureau reported that the average American consumed about 35.7 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup in 2009. Before you cut your daily apple from you diet, remember ... the fructose found in processed food is just that ... processed. And we are eating more of it. Much of that increase comes from processed food. Table sugar, called sucrose, is a molecule of fructose which is bound to a molecule of glucose. High-fructose corn syrup was developed as a cheaper alternative to sucrose, that contains a higher amount of fructose than glucose. After eating food with high-fructose corn syrup, the glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream then, with the help of insulin, moves into fat and muscle tissue. However, most of the fructose goes straight to the liver, where it increases the production of triglycerides, which move into the bloodstream as lipoproteins with cholesterol.This increase of triglycerides in the liver can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a growing metabolic problem that affects about 10 percent of children and as many as a third of all adults. This metabolic problem occurs at the same time as insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, and it is considered a serious risk factor for heart disease. A new study from Harvard Medical School which was published in Molecular Metabolism, found that fructose may encourage obesity and diabetes by overstimulating a hormone -- the fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) -- that helps regulate fat deposits. The hormone rises sharply in response to eating fructose, with the largest rise of the hormone in people who were already obese. The study included twenty-one adults, half were lean and healthy, half were obese with high risks for developing diabetes. Participants were given pure glucose, pure fructose or a common mixutre on different mornings, there blood sugars were then measured over the next five hours. They found that glucose had minimal impact on FGF21 , while fructose increased its levels with the largest dose increasing hormone levels four times within two hours on average. But don't throw out those apples! The fiber in fruit hampers a sudden change of sugar levels. Fiber provides the most protection when the cell walls that hold the frucose are whole. Fruit's fiber cells hold the sugars, releasing them slowly as the apples are digested, letting the sugar enter your bloodstream slowly, while they are metabolized by your body, minimizing any spike surge in blood sugar. And you get all those great nutrients from fresh fruit!
Watermelon is a favorite treat for hot summer days. What a wonderful surprise that something so deliciously refreshing brings great nutritional benefits along with every bite!
The USDA introduced its first food guide in 1902. Known as the Atwater guide, it laid the foundation for recommended food groups and serving sizes. After 109 years and almost a dozen changes in content and form, the USDA has just published a new, simpler guide based on recent accepted nutritional research.