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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Oslo, Norway
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    Talk to me about fructose - and other sugars if you like

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    Ok, so Wasps link led me to finally watching "Sugar, the bitter truth", a widely published rant against fructose and the sugar industry by endocrinologist Robert Lustig:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

    Basically he posits that "fructose is a poison" and is just "alcohol without the buzz". If I picked it up correctly: it's metabolized by the body much the same way that alcohol is, by the liver, which somehow means that it triggers fat storage, and most interesting to me - does not trigger a feeling of satiety that way glucose does. And this is a problem because fructose is cheaper and sweeter than sugar (which is also half fructose), and is used as an additive in processed foods and in large amounts in soft drinks, in his opinion the main driver behind the obesity epidemic. Apparently eating fruit is not a problem, though, because the fructose levels aren't that high, and you then ingest it at the same time as a dose of fiber. And the one time that you can efficiently metabolize fructose is after a hard workout, when your glycogen stores are low (therefore: sports drinks ok for endurance athletes, but not others).

    If this been debated to death in a thread I've missed, just point me thataway.

    I've heard it mentioned around on TE, but haven't paid much attention since I rarely drink soft drinks. And it has not been a big media thing over here. But I think my metabolism is slowing down a notch, maybe perimenopause, so I'm taking an extra look at my diet. I do eat cookies or chocolate weekly in moderate amounts, and some processed foods like sauces and condiments.

    Anyway. I googled some more, and found Norwegian doctors and nutrionists saying: "well, yeah, but the studies are based on rats ingesting huge amounts of fructose, nothing like a normal diet. In small, normal amounts it's actually beneficial since it doesn't raise your blood sugar." And fructose has been marketed as a "healthier" alternative to regular sugar, for baking etc.

    So now I'm confused. My own reaction is sort of - how bad can it be, when it occurs naturally in all fruit, which we've pretty obviously evolved to eat. In normal concentrations, that is, mimicking a diet high in fruit. And ok, so it's a "poison" like alcohol, but I do actually drink alcohol, every week, and the amounts I drink are neither poisoning me nor giving me a beer belly. I agree with his premise that children should not be drinking soft drinks nor eating sweetened fast foods daily, but... duh.

    So what's your take on it? Do you read labels and avoid all fructose, including fruit? Eat fruit but avoid fructose added to processed food? Just avoid drinks full of HFCS? Or not worry about it?
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,213
    I don't worry about it.
    Years ago I decided in favor of eating food that looks like food. If my sensible, opinionated and outspoken grandfather wouldn't have recognized something as food, then it doesn't qualify.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,141
    I can't say I avoid it all, but almost all. I don't eat packaged sweets, only home made, on the rare occasion I have them. I don't drink soda. In fact, I just don't eat packaged or prepared foods at all. Like you, I do have alcohol, about 4-5X a week, mostly a glass of red wine, occasional beer. The literature here does point to fructose and other things like it as the culprits for the recent upswing in obesity, along with lack of exercise. Frankly, my opinion is, it's better to have a little bit of real sugar once in awhile, just not all the time. I think what happens is, that people think, oh, this is not real sugar, so they eat more of whatever it is, that contains fructose, just like they do with the "fat-free" stuff.
    I eat fruit, I do read labels, and I avoid all HFCS.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    I don't avoid fructose completely (of course it is naturally occurring), but I do make an effort to avoid high fructose corn syrup (IMO not the same thing). I don't knowingly bring food into my home with HFCS, but I am sure it crops up in the occasional meal out or in small quantities that may not appear on labels.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    I also make an effort to avoid HFCS, though honestly that has more to do with the degree of refining inherent in its presence, than anything about the sugar itself. More or less what Malkin said. Plus, considering the horror that is corn-growing in the USA at least, I don't think there's even such a thing as organic HFCS. I make a pretty strong effort not to buy any corn that isn't organic, more so than any other food.

    I do know that if I have much fructose during a long run or ride (a run especially), my gut will let me know about it afterward. Doesn't matter whether it's fresh fruit, brown rice syrup or Gatorade. I can (and usually do) have fresh, frozen or occasionally dried fruit for breakfast, but there's usually a couple of hours between that and when I head out.



    Considering that other studies have shown a strong link between obesity and gut flora, it wouldn't surprise me at all if there's a relationship there. One of their longest known functions is digesting sugars.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 08-03-2014 at 07:31 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    4,391
    HFC's have a chemical manufacturing process that is nasty… so yeah I avoid buying things with HFC's, but I don't avoid fruit. Your cells need sugar to survive… everything you eat- everything, is broken down into glucose eventually so that you can access the energy in it. Some things are easier to break down and absorb than others, depending on how close they are already to being glucose (and how much in them can't be broken down at all), but it all eventually either gets there or gets excreted...
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    10,956
    Some people don't have much of a problem with reasonable fructose, others of us do. I learned when I was still working to get my blood sugar under control that more than a little fructose - and I do mean a little - made it much harder for me to manage my blood sugar spikes. I "technically" no longer have to worry about that, but I figure it will always be a weakness of mine. I do eat fruit, but not much and I keep an eye on when (and how much) I allow it in my diet. HFCS is not allowed at all. Period.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
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    I don't eat fructose except naturally occurring in fruit. I also don't limit my fruit intake, but I'm not a fruit junkie either. In fact, I would rather eat veggies or meat, so I try to monitor my fruit to make sure I'm getting in some daily. It's not an issue this time of year (mmmm, blueberries!!), but I can go a day or two without eating any fruit in the winter sometimes.

    For me, fructose is no worse than any other form of sugar (including alcohol), but I generally avoid them all because I don't like how they make me feel. I get plenty of starches/carbs from potatoes, squash and root veggies (again, depending on time of year), so I don't need added sugar. If I am eating something that contains sugar (like ketchup) I will be vary particular about which product I choose to minimize not only fructose and cane sugar, but sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners too. I just make it a habit to avoid really sweet stuff. I will occasionally make the exception for special occasions but then it must be truly special (monthly birthday celebrations at work don't count!).
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Uncanny Valley
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    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    (mmmm, blueberries!!).
    We just picked 50 lbs of blueberries in two trips to the you-pick, and if I'm not careful I'll have to make another trip if I want to have enough to last the winter.

    /blueberry drool
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    We just picked 50 lbs of blueberries in two trips to the you-pick, and if I'm not careful I'll have to make another trip if I want to have enough to last the winter.

    /blueberry drool
    My bar top is covered with canned blueberry syrup and blueberry preserves awaiting a pantry reorganization. Our freezer is loaded with bags of them, too. I just love those little suckers!!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    I can't live without my daily dose of blueberries!
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    6
    Add me to the list of blueberry addicts. I planted a few blueberry bushes last year but lost all the berries to the birds! Oh well.

    My daughter was recently diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption, so we are low fructose in this house. I feel like I need a degree in both nutrition and chemistry just to feed my family.

    For some people fructose really is poison.
    ”Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
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    That's interesting ,reux. Googling fructose I heard about Malabsorption for the first time, I had no idea it existed. I was just out to see if I maybe should quit my daily glass of orange juice and try to get better at keeping fresh fruit at work.

    We have (had) the woods chock full of blueberries right up until a week ago, and if I'd just been a bit quicker I could have picked the freezer full. I have a couple of litres, stirred with sugar, waiting for winter :-)
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    6
    I had never heard of it either. We all know about lactose intolerance but fructose was news to me. My poor daughter, I feel so bad for her, but it is manageable. Just a big p.i.t.a.
    If you have no problems digesting fructose (which isn't always so obvious, I could tell you all about it but it would be a long long post), then I don't see why moderate amounts of natural sugar wouldn't be just fine in a normal healthy diet.
    I think clean, organic, minimally processed food is the way to go. I don't have to worry about reading labels when I'm just eating fruits, veggies, and meat! It's the ice cream that gets me into trouble, lol.
    ”Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Hillsboro, OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by reux View Post
    It's the ice cream that gets me into trouble, lol.
    Ha! You and me both!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

 

 

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