One of the best research presentations on ‘the bad effects of sugar and fructose intolerance on health’ is the one by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a professor of pediatrics and an obesity specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
I learned a lot from his video presentation entitled “Bitter Truth Of Sugar.”
This video will take more than 90 minutes to watch… but these 90 minutes will be worth more than 1000 hours you spent on other things.
Here is the video in which Dr. Lustig explains his research results on fructose:
Dr. Robert is proving some shocking truths about the ‘sugar’ we love savoring. According to him, it is the No.1 villain responsible for major health hazards like type-2 diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, dental caries, inflammation, hypertension, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and many more.
Fructose is full of empty calories. It is a toxic substance similar to alcohol.
Speaking….daily fructose consumption is like a slow poisoning of the body.
These days some research is being conducted on the ill effects of sugar on health. Every study result confirms that most of what Dr. Lustig says on this matter is valid.
Let us look into some of the major health issues caused by fructose.
Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Steatosis)
Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Steatosis) usually happens because of alcohol abuse and Hepatitis B or C infection. And another culprit of this disease could be fructose.
The normal glucose from normal sugar can be converted into energy by each body cell. But fructose can be broken down only in the liver.
The liver cannot handle the excess amount of fructose and converts the excess fructose into triglyceride, a kind of fat. It also gives rise to the formation of free radicals and uric acid.
The fatty liver, because of the excess triglyceride deposits, gives rise to several other diseases besides damaging the functioning of the liver.
The liver also begins to release the triglycerides into the bloodstream, eventually leading to the growth of plaques on the walls of artery walls and Type2 diabetes.
When it comes in contact with oxygen, the free radicals undergo chemical changes that will gradually damage the cell structures and enzymes.
The health and protection of the artery wall are ensured by nitric oxide. The uric acid formed in the liver out of the fructose suppresses nitric oxide production. It can even cause cancer and kidney disorders.
Because of the uric acid that reduces the production of nitric oxide, the artery walls become weaker and get infested with plaques that give rise to several cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks.
Difference Between Fructose And Glucose
Sugar versus fructose:
Glucose and fructose are simple sugars. Simple carbohydrates are classified into two types. They are monosaccharides and disaccharides.
Fructose Causes Insulin Resistance
Sucrose (normally the added sugar), fructose corn syrups, and fruits contain both glucose and fructose.
As we have just discussed before, glucose can be turned into energy by any cells in the body. A regular supply of sufficient glucose is important for the body to meet energy requirements.
Only the liver can metabolize fructose. The normal amount of fructose is processed and stored by the liver in the form of glycogen in the liver and does cause any problems.
When the body is short of glucose supply, the body uses glycogen to produce energy.
With excess fructose consumption, more and more glycogen is produced than the body needs, and the unused glycogen will be turned into fat deposits (triglycerides), which gradually leads to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver and insulin resistance have a cause-effect relationship. Few major studies have verified ‘fatty liver’ as one of the major reasons for insulin resistance.
A fatty liver gradually loses the ability to sense the amount of insulin in the bloodstream and induces the pancreas to produce more and more insulin.
It is verified that too much fructose intake is one of the causative reasons for insulin resistance. It also quickly raises the level of insulin and triglycerides in the bloodstream.
I am sure you already know that insulin resistance mainly causes major diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart ailments, obesity, etc.
If we think and eat wisely, many of these diseases can be controlled by reducing fructose intake as much as possible. Fructose is bad for people who have already crossed their prime age, but those engaged in energetic physical activities can tolerate more fructose than others.
Fructose Gives Rise To Leptin Resistance
The leptin hormone is important in directing the brain centers to decide when to generate and suppress the appetite. This hormone gauges and maintains the energy balance in the body.
Fat cells in the body produce the leptin hormone.
When the body has sufficient fat storage for required energy production, more leptin is released into the bloodstream, indicating to the brain that the body has enough energy.
The brain decides when the body needs to eat food depending on the signals from the blood’s leptin levels.
The Leptin hormone coordinates the brain and body in maintaining the energy balance.
Obesity occurs when there is less production of leptin hormone despite massive fat storage, or it is released sufficiently by the fat cells, but the brain does not sense it.
Excess fructose consumption increases insulin release into the bloodstream. As the insulin levels become higher than normal, it blocks the leptin signal to the brain.
According to Dr. Lustig, if the insulin levels regularly remain high in the bloodstream, it will gradually lead to full-grown leptin resistance. Other studies, too, seem to agree with Dr. Lustig’s findings.
Excess intake of fructose can increase higher levels of triglycerides released into the bloodstream by the liver.
Triglycerides, a kind of fat, block the leptin hormone signals to the brain.
Dr. Lustig’s explanations of fructose’s effects on health have not gone well with many health experts, as many do not fully agree with his arguments.
The brain’s functioning is so complicated; there is a need for more continuous studies and further research to establish a close relationship between leptin resistance and fructose.
What About The Fruits With Fructose?
Fructose from added sugar, fructose corn syrups, beverages, and fruit juices harms health, as we have seen above.
Fruits and certain vegetables also contain fructose in a substantial amount.
Are we not risking our health by eating fruits with fructose?
NOT… Fruits are safe and healthy as part of a balanced diet.
The real problem with fructose depends on the quality and amount of fructose in our food.
The fructose content in added sugar, fruit juices, beverages, and fructose corn syrups is very high and quickly digestible. They bring a sudden spike in large quantity fructose intake. If these foods and drinks are regularly taken, it will lead to metabolic syndrome and all the deadly diseases we discussed at the beginning of this article.
Fructose in full fruits is NOT harmful for many reasons.
The amount of fructose found in fruits is negligible, and the density of fructose in them is suppressed by the fiber and water present in them.
It takes much longer for the fruits to be chewed and digested….so the fructose absorption into the blood and transportation to the liver is minimal and slow.
The fructose in the fruit is completely not absorbable by the body as the fiber in the fruit itself will act as a block.
Most of the vegetables we eat have a bit of fructose in them.
Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium — and, in fact, every living thing on Earth — uses glucose for energy.
It is estimated that a normal diet plan with a balanced amount of fruits and vegetables will make us consume not more than 15 grams of fructose per day.
A single soft drink (coke) bottle with added sugar contains more than 73 grams of fructose.
Fruits and vegetables also contain many vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other nutrients, which will naturally counter the negative effects of the little fructose found in them.
Dr. Lustig also opines that fructose in fruits does not harm the body as only a permissible amount of fructose is found in them.
There is no reason for you to avoid fruits for fear of fructose. It will not harm your health as nature has planned it already in that way.
Dr.Lustig expresses his concern and worries over the food habits of the people now in America and the world over. By and large, major portions of people’s daily diet consist of fructose-rich foods and drinks.
This is perhaps the number one reason for the astonishing increase in obesity, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver issues more than ever now. One-third of Americans suffer from these diseases.
More and more people are developing insulin resistance and leptin resistance.
Dr. Lustig’s findings and theories are probably only the tips of the iceberg. There is a need for extensive studies to establish the undeniable links between fructose with diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, heart ailments, and cancer.
Dr.Lustig has succeeded in presenting the repercussions of high fructose intake as conditions strongly associated with those diseases.
Understanding the bad effects of fructose consumption gives us enough reason to shun the habit of having sweetened soft drinks, fructose corn syrups, foods with added sugar, etc.
Lustig’s talk has all the ingredients to motivate us to be cautious and on a self-imposed compulsion to have as few sugary foods as possible in our daily diet plan.