We don’t want to always be moaning doom and gloom regarding our food, but we feel part of our job is to make sure you know what’s what so you can make great choices. That said, let’s talk about a sneaky little rat that’s doing us a LOT of harm:
According to new research, people on low-carb diets lose weight in part because they get less fructose, a type of sugar that can be made into body fat quickly.
The study shows that the type of carbs someone eats can be as important as the amount. Although fructose is naturally found in high levels in fruit, it is also added to many processed foods, especially in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
For the study, six healthy people performed three different tests involving drinking various mixes of glucose and fructose. Researchers found that fructose turned into body fat much more quickly, and that having it for breakfast changed how the body handled fats at lunch.
It’s great to find this study is bringing some attention to the dangers of fructose. So often it’s mistakenly labeled as a “healthy” form of sugar, when in reality too much fructose will pack on the pounds faster than a buffet of French fries and Krispy Cremes.
To lose weight, fructose is one sugar we’ll want to avoid, particularly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Actually, even if we don’t need to lose weight, we should still avoid excess fructose if you want to stay healthy. The bottom line: Eating + Fructose = Fat
Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.
"Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose," said Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center and lead author of the study in Science Daily.
“Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it's hard to slow it down," she said.
“…The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body."
How does this happen? Well, most fats are formed in your liver, and when sugar enters your liver, it decides whether to store it, burn it or turn it into fat. Fructose, however, bypasses this process and turns full speed ahead into fat.
"It's basically sneaking into the rock concert through the fence," Dr. Parks told Science Daily. "It's a less-controlled movement of fructose through these pathways that causes it to contribute to greater triglyceride [i.e. fat] synthesis.”
Ironically, the very products that most people rely on to lose weight - low-fat diet foods - are often those that contain the most fructose! Even “natural” diet foods often contain fructose as a sweetener.
(Sources: Mercola and Journal of Nutrition June 2008, 138:1039-1046)
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