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Fruit Sugar vs. Other Sugars

By Jeffrey Traister

Fructose, also called fruit sugar, is among the leading sources of energy in the American diet. Fructose is a sugar naturally present in fruits, maple syrup and honey. Manufacturers use fructose to make high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener added to processed foods. Your body metabolizes fructose differently than it does other sugars. Eating fructose increases certain health risks; consult your nutritionist on the benefits and risks of eating fructose versus other sugars.

Fructose Vs. Glucose

Fructose and glucose are single molecules of sugar called monosaccharides. They have similar structures, but your body metabolizes them differently. Glucose is the sugar the cells throughout your body metabolize for energy. Your liver converts fructose from fruit into glucose, but it converts fructose in highly concentrated sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup, into fat. Scientists at the University of California Davis, in research published in "The Journal of Clinical Investigation" in 2009, compared glucose-sweetened beverages with fructose-sweetened beverages. They found that the fructose-sweetened beverages increase production and storage of fat inside the body; elevate blood levels of fat, cholesterol, sugar and insulin; and decrease insulin sensitivity.

Fructose Vs. Sucrose

Sucrose is a disaccharide made of fructose and glucose. Sucrose is better known as table sugar, a sweetener manufacturers use in many food products. High-fructose corn syrup is a mixture of fructose and glucose. The body metabolizes fructose from high-fructose corn syrup differently than the way it does sucrose. Scientists at Princeton University discovered that rats fed high-fructose corn syrup gain more abdominal fat and weight than rats fed the same number of sucrose calories, according to research published in "Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior" in November 2010.

Fructose Vs. Lactose

Lactose is a disaccharide in milk made of glucose and galactose. Your body requires an enzyme called lactase to digest lactose. Fructose and lactose are two sugars commonly associated with food intolerances. Fructose intolerance involves two different conditions. One is a rare genetic disorder characterized by a lack of enzyme that breaks down fructose and increases risk of liver and kidney damage. The other is a malabsorption condition characterized by difficulty digesting fructose and symptoms including bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhea. People with lactose intolerance have a deficiency of lactase; they are unable to digest lactose and may suffer from nausea, bloating, gas, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. They can reduce symptoms by consuming lactase from a supplement.

Fructose Vs. Maltose

Maltose is a disaccharide made of two glucose molecules that is naturally found in germinating grain and in small amounts in corn syrup. The malting process in beer production converts starch from barley into maltose. Although fructose and maltose are both in corn syrup, they differ in sweetness. Scientists at the City University of New York found that rats prefer maltose at low and high concentrations to fructose, according to research published in "Physiology and Behavior" in 1987.

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