“Conventional dietary recommendations for gout have focused on restriction of purine and alcohol intake but with no restriction of sugar sweetened soft drinks.14 15 Although such soft drinks contain low levels of purine they contain large amounts of fructose, which is the only carbohydrate known to increase uric acid levels.In humans, acute oral or intravenous administration of fructose results in a rapid increase in serum levels of uric acid through accentuated degradation of purine nucleotides16 and increased purine synthesis. This urate raising effect was found to be exaggerated in people with hyperuricaemia18 or a history of gout.”
That is the conclusion of one of the many studies linking fructose to gout and other uric acid-related diseases.
In fact, fructose has been found to be directly linked to a major set of diseases hypertension, digestive disorders, hyperacidity, obesity, diabetes, liver diseases and kidney diseases. In the US alone, consumption of corn syrup (high fructose corn sugar) has dropped 40% because of these findings. In the Philippines, so far there is no advisory.
WHAT is Fructose?
Remember you high school chemistry? It is one of three monosaccharides along with glucose and galactose; and is also known as fruit sugar. It does not crystallize unlike sucrose (such as cane sugar), so it is taken often in liquid form – found in softdrinks, juices, and syrup.
WHY is it hazardous to your health?
Our body does NOT treat all sugars the same. Fructose and glucose are metabolized in very different ways in your body. Glucose is metabolized in every cell of your body and is converted to blood glucose, while all fructose is metabolized in your liver, where it’s quickly converted to fat and cholesterol. Sucrose is a larger sugar molecule that is metabolized into glucose and fructose in your intestine.
At a lower dose, fructose is okay. The average recommended level is 25 grams per day. At that level, it is not dangerous. But a 12 oz coke has 40 grams of fructose.
Fructose is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are further magnified.
Why does fructose turn to fat more readily than other sugar?
Most fats are formed in your liver, and when sugar enters your liver, it decides whether to store it, burn it or turn it into fat. However, researchers have discovered that fructose bypasses this process and turns directly into fat. According to Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and lead author of a recent study on fructose in the Journal of Nutrition:
“Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it’s hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body.”
The metabolic pathways used by fructose also generate uric acid. In fact, fructose typically generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion. When your uric acid level exceeds about 5.5 mg per dl, you have an increased risk for a host of diseases, including: Hypertension, Kidney disease, Insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes, Fatty liver, Elevated triglycerides, elevated LDL, and cardiovascular disease, and for pregnant women, even preeclampsia.
- How do you get fructose?
- Processed fructose is found in most soft-drinks, canned or bottled juices, energy drinks, syrup, and other sweetened processed food. In fact, you get more fructose from processed juices than from soft drinks. Those who eat “kinilaw” oftentimes blame the fish when a gout attack happens. But it is more because after eating kinilaw, they drink lots of soft drinks.
- Most vitamins, supplements, and antibiotics have fructose, so check the fructose content of your medicines before taking them.
How about fructose from fruits?Fresh fruits contain fructose, but because they also contain fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that reduce the hazardous effects of the fructose. It is important to remember that natural fructose in and of itself isn’t evil as fruits are certainly beneficial. But when you consume high amounts of fructose – regardless of its source — it will absolutely devastate your biochemistry and physiology. Doctors recommend limiting your total fructose consumption to 25 grams per day, and your fructose from fruit to below 15 grams, since you are virtually guaranteed to consume plenty of “hidden” fructose in other foods. That 15 grams of fructose is not much — it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or just two slices of pineapple. But one whole medium-size mango is enough to feed your fructose requirement a day. Orange and guava however only have 2 grams per fruit. But mangosteen has so much antioxidant that it neutralizes any effect of fructose.How do you sweeten your food without fructose?If you must (although it is better that you avoid sugar if you have a history of diabetes, gout, and hypertension and just get your sugar requirements from raw natural products like fruits and vegetables), here are some choices:a. raw honey – in moderation as it is also packed with natural fructoseb. muscovado sugarc. cane sugar in moderationHere is a simple nutritional guide about fructose malabsorption.