Of the handful of foods considered not good for you, fructose would surely be near the top of that list. This sweetener is used in all kinds of foods, but is found in large quantities in soft drinks. The problem with too much fructose is that it can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
A little fructose is not necessarily a bad thing, but in North America, fructose is used all too liberally in drinks and baked goods. While your body does convert fructose into energy, consume too much and complications begin to occur. The excess fructose enters your liver, and when your liver can’t process it all fast enough to use for energy, your body starts making fats from the fructose. These fats make their way into your bloodstream where they become triglycerides.
Recently, researchers at the Universityof Lausannein Switzerland reviewed a number of clinical trials involving fructose. They found that the simple sugar increased plasma triglyceride concentrations. In addition, when ingested in large amounts as part of a hypercaloric diet, it caused insulin resistance, increased total and visceral fat mass, and boosted fat in liver and skeletal muscle. The researchers concluded that these early effects may be instrumental in causing, in the long run, the development of metabolic syndrome.
You can lower your intake of fructose by checking the labels of the foods you buy at the grocery store. Make sure the sugar content is low. You’ll want to boost your diet with foods that aren’t sweetened with simple sugars. Many foods simply don’t need sugar, but companies add the sweetener anyway because it is somewhat addictive — when you have some, you inevitably crave more.
Why does this craving happen? Fructose can end up circumventing your normal appetite signaling system. And when your appetite-regulating hormones aren’t triggered, you’re left feeling unsatisfied. This is probably at least part of the reason why excess fructose consumption can lead to weight gain and eventually obesity.
To learn more about ill effects of fructose, read the article Is This Common Sweetener to Blame for Our Health Problems?