Did you know that the fructose in fruits can contribute to weight gain? Find out how fruit sugar can hold you back from achieving your body goals.
In this article:
- Too Much Fruit Consumption Can Be Problematic
- Fruits Are Full of Fructose
- Don’t Let Fruit Juice Fool You
- The Unique Metabolism of Fructose
What You Need to Know About Fructose in Weight Loss
Too Much Fruit Consumption Can Be Problematic
Are you trying to lose weight and finding it difficult? Have you turned to juice fasting and cleansing but you’re disappointed with the results?
Well, you might be surprised to learn that all of the fruits you’re eating may be the issue. Fruits are usually considered as healthy food. While that’s true to a certain extent, too much fruit can be problematic.
Funnily enough, when people try to lose weight, they often consume more fruit or fresh fruit juice, only to find themselves gaining weight rather than losing it.
But, fruit is a natural, whole food source, isn’t it?
That’s true, but it also contains a lot of fructose, which is the main form of sugar found in fruits.
So, is the fructose in fruits bad for you? It isn’t healthy to consume any form of sugar in high amounts, especially if it’s fructose.
Fruits Are Full of Fructose
Take a look at the fructose content in these fruits as an example:
- 1 apple – 10.74 g
- 1 medium banana – 5.92 g
- 1 cup grapes – 12.28 g
- 1 mango – 15.72 g
If you’re going to eat something sweet, fruit is definitely the best type of natural sugar to choose.
It’s got fiber, polyphenols, and beneficial compounds that aid in digestion. It contains a natural supply of vitamins and minerals, too. And, when it comes to fruit or fruit juice, always choose to eat the whole fruit.
Polyphenols Definition: Micronutrients found mostly in whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidant effects in the body.
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Don’t Let Fruit Juice Fool You
Another common misconception is that juicing is a way to achieve better health. Many people do it because they think it’s a great way to lose weight or cleanse. But again, this is not the case – especially if your juice contains 2 or 3 pieces of fruits.
Don’t be fooled into thinking homemade juice is any better, either. The reality is when you juice a fruit, you decrease its fiber and nutrient content and increase the calories and sugar/fructose content.
- 1 whole apple has 70 g calories, 19 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 14 g sugar
- 1 cup homemade apple juice has 120 calories, 30 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 28 g sugar
Now that’s a big difference, right? By juicing the fruit, you instantly double your calories and sugar/fructose intake.
When it comes down to it, too much fruit or fruit juice can cause weight gain and have other harmful effects. It also makes it difficult to overcome metabolic problems like diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, fatty liver and other forms of liver damage, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
And, it’s all because of the fructose.
The Unique Metabolism of Fructose
There are different types of sugars. You’ve probably heard of some of them – glucose, lactose, sucrose, fructose, and so forth.
Because fructose does not require insulin like other forms of simple sugar, researchers first thought it may be the solution to curing diabetes and metabolic issues. Unfortunately, it turned out the opposite is true.
Fructose is a unique type of sugar because it gets metabolized entirely by the liver. Let’s compare glucose and fructose so you get a clearer picture of how this works.
When we eat glucose in something like brown rice, our body absorbs it from the digestive tract and converts that glucose into energy we can use.
The body also stores some of it for later use as glycogen in the muscles and liver. Then our glycogen stores break it down to glucose when we need it for energy.
Fructose, on the other hand, is poorly absorbed in the digestive tract and does not get used as energy. Our body doesn’t have the ability to transport fructose into the cells as it does with glucose. Instead, the liver processes it and stores the fructose as fat.
If I were to eat 120 calories of glucose, just 1 calorie is converted to fat. If I eat 120 calories of fructose, 40 calories is converted to fat.
All fat cells need a backbone to be created; that backbone is called a triglyceride. Guess what helps to make them rapidly? Fructose.
High consumption of fructose also promotes fat in the liver, which in turn promotes insulin resistance and high cholesterol (the bad kind we don’t want). These metabolic issues are signs of prediabetes and an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
To top it off, eating too much fructose also affects your hunger and appetite signals. It literally bypasses important regulatory mechanisms in the brain that help us control energy balance and metabolism, meaning you’re likely to eat more and still feel hungry when you eat too much fructose.
This is just the tip of the iceberg because more and more research is being done to look into the effects of fructose on our body, meaning we’re bound to see more evidence pointing to its negative impact on our health.
It’s true that the main forms of fructose contributing to metabolic issues are things like high-fructose corn syrup, sugar (which is 50% glucose/50% fructose), and other forms of added sugars – most of which aren’t natural.
If you do have any type of metabolic problem or you’re struggling to lose weight, then don’t exclude fruit consumption as part of the issue. Cutting it down or even cutting it out for a while might just help your body in more ways than you can imagine.
Although fruits are rich in fructose, you can still add them to your diet if you consume them in moderate or minimum amounts. If you are unsure of how many fruits to eat or which types you should eat, it is best to consult your dietician for medical advice and the right dietary guidelines you should follow.
How often do you eat sweet fruits? What changes in your weight did you observe? Share your experience in the comments section.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 16, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.