Difference Between Fructose and Glucose

Glucose and fructose are important carbohydrates, commonly referred to as simple sugars. Sugar is found naturally in whole foods and is often added to processed foods to sweeten them and increase flavor. Your tongue can’t quite distinguish between these sugars, but your body can tell the difference.

Gram for gram, the two provide the same number of calories. But the way they are metabolized in the body is completely different. Glucose can be metabolized by all of your body’s tissues, but fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amount.

Here are a few examples of why glucose calories are not the same as fructose calories:

→ Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. It goes up when you’re hungry and down after you’ve eaten. One study showed that fructose leads to higher ghrelin levels — that is more hunger — than glucose.

→ Fructose does not stimulate the satiety centers in your brain in the same way as glucose, leading to a reduced feeling of fullness.

→ Consuming a lot of fructose can cause insulin resistance, abdominal fat gain, increased triglycerides, blood sugar and small, dense LDL compared to the exact same number of calories from glucose.

As you can see: the same number of calories — vastly different effects on hunger, hormones and metabolic health.

Judging nutrients based on the calories they provide is way too simplistic. Keep in mind that fructose only has negative effects when eaten in excessive amounts. Fructose is naturally found in most fruits and vegetables (including sugar cane) and honey. Foods that contain table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup and fruit juice also contain fructose. All major carbohydrates contain glucose. Examples include starch and table sugar.

Don’t be discouraged to eat plenty of fruits. While they contain fructose, they’re also rich in fiber, water and provide significant chewing resistance, which mitigates the negative effects of the fructose.

Brief Summary

Even though fructose and glucose provide the same number of calories, fructose has far more negative effects on hormones, appetite and metabolic health.

Sources & References:
healthyeating.sfgate.com
www.healthline.com
www.sciencedirect.com
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
www.diffen.com

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Glucose and fructose are important carbohydrates, commonly referred to as simple sugars. Sugar is found naturally in whole foods and is often added to processed foods to sweeten them and increase flavor. Your tongue can't quite distinguish between these sugars, but your body can tell the difference. Gram for gram,...
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