New research adds fuel to the fructose health-risk fire

Here in Florida, asking your server for "sweet tea" is generally redundant. If you ask for tea, you can usually assume it will more than satisfy your sweet tooth.

Unfortunately sugar-sweetened beverages, which contain added sugars in the form of high fructose corn syrup or table sugar (sucrose), can have much longer-lasting effects on your body than temporary refreshment on a hot day.

A new review paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says this can lead to excess weight gain and a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

And while it’s not breaking news that ingesting large amounts of sugar is unhealthy …

Consumers need to know to look out for sugar hiding under other names such as fructose and high fructose corn syrup. That’s because these are arguably worse for the body that just plain old table sugar.

But they may not be that easy to avoid, unless you want to cut sweets out of your diet — even a once-a-day serving — altogether. That includes even supposedly healthy sugars like the kind you find in fruit.

Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D. is a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead investigator of the JACC paper.

"Since we rarely consume fructose in isolation, the major source of fructose in the diet comes from fructose-containing sugars, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, in sugar-sweetened beverages," he said.

Dr. Hu added that "Our findings underscore the urgent need for public health strategies that reduce the consumption of these drinks."

The paper, which reviewed data from recent epidemiological studies and meta-analyses of these studies, reveals that consuming one or two servings a day has been linked to:

  • As high as a 26% greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes,
  • A 35% greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, and
  • A 16% increased risk of stroke.

The research team also explored how fructose is metabolized in the body and its link to weight gain and the development of metabolic and cardiovascular conditions.

"Part of the problem is how fructose behaves in the body," said Hu.

Whatever Happened to ‘An Apple a Day …’?

You see, simple sugars are called monosaccharides. They include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose.

Glucose is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream. From there, it is transported through the action of insulin into the body’s cells, where it will be used as fuel.

Fructose, on the other hand, is metabolized in the liver. There, it can be converted to fatty compounds called triglycerides. This may lead to fatty liver disease and insulin resistance, a key risk factor for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Overconsumption of fructose can also lead to too much uric acid in the blood. This is associated with a greater risk of gout, a painful inflammatory arthritis.

What most people don’t know is that fructose is the main type of sugar in most fruits, which is leading some doctors to warn of the overconsumption of fruit.

I’m not saying fruit isn’t healthy, because it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

But just like everything, it must be eaten in moderation — something that can be hard to do when fruit is generally touted as healthy in unlimited quantities.

Generally, doctors recommend a maximum of 25 grams of fructose per day. A typical apple has about 9.5 grams, a banana 7.1, a pear 11.8 and a cup of grapes 12.4.

You can see how it’s easy to go over on your daily fructose ingestion, and that’s without even adding in if you drink any soft drinks or high-sugar fruit juices, which are among the unhealthiest "healthy" drinks out there.

I believe it’s very important to monitor your fructose intake, and something that can radically improve your health if you’re currently over-consuming fructose like the average American, whose daily dose is at an amount 300% higher than the recommended 25 grams.

Slowly tapering the amount each day can be an effective course of action instead of going cold turkey and completely eliminating sugar.

Related story: How Cinnamon Can Control Your Blood Sugar

For those of our readers who been negatively affected firsthand by sugar overconsumption in their diet, we would love to hear how you’re handling it or what you did to improve your health.

Happy and healthy investing,

Brad Hoppmann


Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “New research adds fuel to the fructose health-risk fire”

  1. First you write fructose is a simple sugar, monosaccharides. Then you write it isn’t; it’s metabolized in the liver. Which is it? Is sucrose a monosaccharides or not?

  2. Hi, I weighed 345 lbs. I had a doctor tell me that since high fructose corn syrup came into America we have gotten fat. So I started watching very closely what I ate and drank and did my best to not eat anything that said high fructose corn syrup in it. Also I quit eating processed foods because( frozen dinners were easy to make) I used to eat them since I lived by myself. So I started making my own foods. I lost over 200 lbs. doing this. I have encouraged other people about this and my grandson, who slips up once in a while, has lost 70 lbs. Hope by telling this I can encourage others.

  3. It is amazing how knowledge trumps money when it comes to health. When you are ready I tell you how to reverse age and what most ageing really is.

  4. Brad, a simply excellent article!!! You positively distinguish yourself from other financial journalists by writing and publishing articles like this..Great Job….

  5. It is distressing to see how we’ve failed to educate our youth about the dangers of obesity and many other food and lifestyle choices that impact their liver health.

    Many individuals grow up with the mentality that their bodies are invincible. In reality, their body and especially their liver, needs them to know how to protect it from liver related diseases through the use of alcohol, drugs, unhealthy food and lifestyle choices.

    Providing the rationale for changing behaviors is missing. Preventative education starting at an early age, is essential to bringing liver related diseases under control.

    Unfortunately, because the liver is a non-complaining organ most Americans are unaware of the liver and the miracles it performs 24/7. They are clueless about the devastating impact their unhealthy food and lifestyle choices can have on this life sustaining organ. Liver related illnesses including: obesity, fatty liver, diabetes, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, strokes and even heart attacks are preventable. They all begin on day one with what we feed your children.

    The liver has zillions of liver cells serving as the body’s micro-chips, converting food into hundreds of essential body functions including producing energy, immune factors, digestive juices (bile), clotting factors, excretion of toxins (alcohol, drugs, pollutants), control of cholesterol and hundreds more. Liver cells are the employees in your personal chemical refinery.

    Making healthy food and lifestyle choices with the limited use of fats, sugar, alcohol, plus daily exercise will help keep liver cells healthy and your body in good shape. Ask your healthcare provider to check the status of your silent partner, your liver. And don’t forget to have your children checked too. Remember prevention begins on day one.

    If any of this information has been helpful to you, please share it with family, friends, and especially teachers. For more information visit

  6. I have totally cut out ALL forms of sugar, if it tastes sweet, don’t eat it. Sweets can cause Inflammation in various body parts….2 or 3 days later. So satisfy the craving now…..and suffer later. Your choice.

  7. HI BRAD,…….Read your your information e-mails most days and enjoy as I iived in Canada and poured a large amount of Loonies into holes in the ground which were recommended by my friends of the 60`s +,…… I have returned to Scotland these last 50 years past, I am still waiting to find Gold that was promised, in THAR HILLS.

    However this e-mail is very interesting to me, how do you convince younger family not to eat
    crisps….[chips] and not to drink too much Scottish brown beer, i have sent your e-mail to him, ….his answer was, …….Dad, you drank beer did you not, and lots of it. I am told.

    My question to you is , do I cut him out off my will,or tell him to try and lose weight if he can……………………Jack The Scot Munro.

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