What many people don’t realize is that concentrated fructose is probably worse for you than high amounts of glucose. People tend to think that fructose is a benign sugar because it is found naturally in fruit. But, despite the name “fructose,” whole fruit actually has a relatively low concentration of fructose compared to agave, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, or cane sugar. (However, eating huge quantities of fruit is just as bad for you as eating a lot of table sugar.)
There are a number of health problems associated with eating too much fructose:
- Fructose interferes with copper metabolism. This prevents collagen and elastin from being able to properly form. Collagen and elastin are components of the connective tissue which essentially holds the body together.1 A deficiency in copper can also lead to porous bones, anemia, defects of the arteries, infertility, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks, and an inability to control blood sugar levels.2
- When you take in fructose, it must first travel to the liver before it can be converted to glycogen—a source of energy. But if you don’t immediately burn this energy, the fructose gets converted to triglycerides—the fats in the blood that are associated with heart disease.
- Fructose can make you fat. Blood triglycerides made from fructose are stored as fat, which increases the size of your fat cells, contributing to weight gain and obesity.3
- Consuming high amounts of fructose on a regular basis can contribute to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which even children are now getting from all the high-fructose corn syrup in their diets.
- The excess triglycerides created when you eat fructose increase insulin resistance, thereby boosting insulin production to very high levels, which fosters the development of diabetes in a “back door” fashion.4
- Consumption of fructose has been shown to cause a significant increase in uric acid. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease and can contribute to gout and other circulatory problems.5
- Fructose consumption has been shown to increase blood lactic acid, especially for people with conditions like diabetes. Extreme elevations may cause metabolic acidosis.6
- Consumption of fructose leads to mineral losses, especially excretion of iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc.7 This can lead to bone and tooth demineralization.
- Fructose can cause accelerated aging through oxidative damage. Fructose contributes greatly to the creation of AGEs (advanced glycated endproducts), which are proteins that have inappropriately bonded to sugars in your blood. Fructose is the worst of the sugars for this, and when it bonds to proteins, these molecules stiffen the cells in your body, inhibiting their function (they literally age faster). This is the cause of arteriosclerosis, kidney problems and aging skin—the very types of damage seen in diabetic complications.9
Ironically, diabetics have been advised to use fructose for sweetening because it doesn’t directly cause a glucose or insulin spike. But whether you are diabetic or not, high fructose consumption does massive damage to your body.