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Fructose is the sweetest of the naturally occurring caloric sweeteners. Fructose occurs naturally in fruits, fruit juices, honey, and even some vegetables. Pure fructose is much sweeter than other types of sugar. As a result, people can use less fructose than other sugars in cooking to achieve the same sweetness.

Manufacturers create HFCS by adding certain enzymes to corn starch, which is essentially pure glucose. Glucose is another type of sugar. They then use this glucose to create a syrup that contains varying amounts of fructose. Most varieties of HFCS contain either 42 or 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. This means that HFCS contains the same amount of fructose as sucrose, or table sugar.


Honey is another common food additive. Honey contains a 1-to-1 ratio of fructose to glucose. Natural fructose from fresh fruit and vegetables is good for a person's health. Processed forms of fructose, such as HFCS, may have negative health effects. Scientists are currently studying how this type of sweetener compares with other forms of sugar.

Below, we discuss the research around the possible risks and benefits of fructose on a person's health. In particular, there are concerns that when a person consumes fructose in excess, it may stimulate the body to deposit extra fat, especially in the liver. This may contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

According to a literature review , eating excessive amounts of fructose is associated with:.

Health implications of fructose consumption: A review of recent data

A study looked at the effects of fructose-rich drink consumption in those aged 12—16 years in Taiwan. People who drank more fructose-rich drinks had higher levels of insulin resistance, which is a marker for hardened arteries, diabetes, and heart disease in adults. Although there is evidence that excess fructose consumption is bad for health, it is difficult for researchers to separate the effects of fructose in the diet from those of other sugars.

This is because foods that contain high levels of added fructose usually also contain high levels of other sugars, such as glucose. Scientists conduct many research studies into the effects of fructose in rats fed combinations of sugars. A literature review states that fructose does not have specific effects on the body that can cause weight gain when compared with eating sugar from other sources.

The authors also argue that, while sugar-sweetened drinks contain fructose, they are also high in calories. This may explain some links between fructose and obesity. To date, the United States Food and Drug Administration FDA say that they are not currently aware of any evidence that foods containing HFCS are less safe than other foods containing similar sweeteners, such as sucrose and honey. Unlike fructose, the body largely breaks glucose down in the cells. The small intestine usually absorbs this sugar type and sends it out to the body's cells for energy.

Researchers usually regard glucose as the body's preferred carbohydrate source for energy.

When a person eats glucose, the chemical structure of the compound triggers the pancreas to release insulin , a hormone that allows cells to use glucose for energy. Fructose does not trigger insulin release, nor does it trigger the release of hormones such as leptin, which tells the brain that a person is full, or inhibit hormones that tell a person's body that they are hungry.

As a result, researchers suggest that fructose is more harmful to a person because they are more likely to eat more than if they had eaten a food containing glucose.

However, a person should remember that foods with glucose-containing sugars still have calories. Excess calorie intake can lead to weight gain. Some vegetables contain fructose, but this is usually in smaller amounts than fruits. These include:. Fructose is naturally present in many fruits and vegetables, which people can include as part of a healthful, balanced diet. Researchers are still debating whether various forms of fructose are bad for people's health. The FDA state that fructose is a safe ingredient to add to foods. They believe that there is not enough evidence to say that fructose is less safe than other similar sugars, such as sucrose and honey, but they recommend limiting all added sugars.

When people eat or drink lots of high-fructose foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, they are also taking in extra calories that can contribute to weight gain. There is no recommended minimum or maximum intake of fructose daily because a person does not need this sugar to survive. Manufacturers add fructose to foods as a sweetener, but it has little nutritional value.

Where possible, doctors recommend that people eat fresh, whole foods and avoid frequently eating foods with added sugars. Article last reviewed by Wed 28 November All references are available in the References tab. Fructose-restricted diet.


Henneberg, M. Meat in modern diet, just as bad as sugar, correlates with worldwide obesity: An ecological analysis. High fructose corn syrup questions and answers. Lin, W. Fructose-rich beverage intake and central adiposity, uric acid, and pediatric insulin resistance. The Journal of Pediatrics , , 90— Pereira, R. Fructose consumption in the development of obesity and the effects of different protocols of physical exercise on the hepatic metabolism.

Health implications of fructose consumption: A review of recent data

Nutrients , 9 4 , Tappy, L. Fructose toxicity: Is the science ready for public health actions? Misconceptions about fructose-containing sugars and their role in the obesity epidemic. Nutrition Research Reviews , 27 1 , — What is fructose? MLA Nall, Rachel. MediLexicon, Intl. APA Nall, R. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. However, others are worried that excessive fructose intake may contribute to several metabolic disorders. These concerns are discussed in the next chapter. While every cell in the body can use glucose, the liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts.

When people eat a diet that is high in calories and high in fructose, the liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat. Many scientists believe that excess fructose consumption may be a key driver of many of the most serious diseases of today. These include obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

However, more human evidence is needed. Researchers debate the extent to which fructose contributes to these disorders 4. Note that not all of this has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in controlled studies. However, the evidence is still there, and more studies will paint a clearer picture in the coming years and decades. It's important to realize that all of this does not apply to whole fruit.

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Fruits aren't just watery bags of fructose, they are real foods with a low calorie density and lots of fiber. They're hard to overeat on and you would have to eat very large amounts to reach harmful levels of fructose. In general, fruit is a minor source of fructose in the diet compared to added sugars. The harmful effects of fructose apply to a Western diet supplying excess calories and added sugars.

Fructose: Definition, Sources, and Health Effects

It does not apply to the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Fruits are very nutritious and contain lots of fiber and antioxidants. However, some people think they can be harmful because of the sugar in them. Eating fruit can boost your health and help prevent disease. Here are the 20 healthiest fruits on earth, backed by science. This is a detailed article about high fructose corn syrup HFCS. What it is, how it is made and how its health effects compare to regular sugar.

High-fructose corn syrup has been linked to today's obesity epidemic and many other serious health issues.

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