—A Special Report from Victor Marchione, MD
A small amount of fructose, such as the amount found in most vegetables and fruits, is not really a bad thing. In fact, there’s some evidence that a little bit may help your body process glucose properly. However, when you consume too much fructose at once, it seems to overwhelm your body’s capacity to process it. Our diets used to contain only very small amounts of fructose. These days, it is estimated that about 10% of the modern diet comes from fructose.
A diet high is fructose can cause a number of health complications, including weight gain and heart problems. Researchers recently tested the link between blood pressure and fructose in a study performed at the University of Colorado. They conducted a survey and collected data from more than 4,500 adults regarding their fructose intake.
The research team found that, on average, people said they consumed 74 grams of fructose per day — roughly the amount in four soft drinks. About a third turned out to have borderline high blood pressure and eight percent had hypertension.
The more fructose their diet included, the more likely participants were to have high blood pressure. Even after adjusting for other health factors, the odds of having high blood pressure increased in those whose fructose intake was above average. For the most severe form of high blood pressure, called stage 2 hypertension, the odds were 77% higher.
Make sure you avoid sugar-sweetened drinks. Getting fructose from eating fruits appears to be less of a problem because fruits also contain many healthful substances like antioxidants and fiber. Fruit has just four to 10 grams of fructose per serving, while a can of cola has about 39 grams of high-fructose corn
Remember that there are many alternatives that you can reach for when you need to indulge your sweet tooth. Honey has many beneficial ingredients as well as being deliciously sweet. It is a great natural source of carbohydrates, which can boost energy. In fact, honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting the performance and endurance of athletes, as well reducing muscle fatigue. Honey has natural fruit sugars unlike sources of refined sugar. The glucose in honey is absorbed by your body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly, providing sustained energy. Honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar.