Fructose could leave dieters sugar-shocked

 
By • Published: February 15th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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If you spent January watching every calorie because you took too many cues from Santa and downed a sleighful of sugary cookies and fat-laden fruitcakes during the holidays, you might want to reconsider some dieting dogma.

Some researchers say you don’t have to go no-carb to stay fit.

In fact, many dieters cut out the wrong foods, according to findings published recently in the European Journal of Nutrition. Dieters should focus on limiting the amount of fructose they eat instead of cutting out starchy foods, report the researchers, who propose using new dietary guidelines based on fructose to gauge how healthy foods are.

Many diets… including the low-carb variety… are based on the glycemic [gly-SEEM-ick] index, which measures how foods affect blood glucose levels. Because starches convert to glucose in the body, these diets typically limit foods like rice and potatoes.

Table sugar contains both glucose and fructose, but fructose seems to be the more dangerous part of the equation, researchers say. Eating too much fructose causes uric acid levels to spike, blocking the ability of insulin to regulate how body cells use and store sugar for energy, leading to obesity, metabolic syndrome and type-two diabetes.

Aside from soft drinks, fructose can be found in pastries, ketchup, fruits and in many processed foods, including the sugar substitute high fructose corn syrup.

So when it comes to such weighty matters as eating well, make sensible choices and remember, fructose is one sugar that might not be so sweet after all.