Fruits are one of the major components in any balanced diet as they are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruits bring a variety of health benefits including some form of protection against cancer, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, maintaining a healthy body weight, etc. However, the fructose sugar derived from fruits, honey has been found to bring about harmful consequences if consumed in excess or in concentrated form according to a considerable body of evidence. In addition, fruits with extra high sugar along with other carbohydrate food sources can have potentially adverse effects on people with diabetes. That said, it is important to remember that fructose is derived from whole fruits and fructose is not the same in other forms. Still, planning for the types and amounts of fruits eaten daily is needed as part of a balanced diet.
This column discusses –
*Effects of excess fructose on the body
* How much fruit is too much?
*Fruits as part of a low carb diet
Too much fructose can damage your vital organs, which can lead to negative health consequences.
Excess fructose is converted into fat by the liver in a process called lipogenesis. During this process, fat molecules accumulate in the liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is the most common liver disease affecting 25% of the world’s population and 9-32 percent Indian.
High consumption of fructose was found to be one of the major contributing factors to NAFLD. Dietary history of 49 patients with confirmed NAFLD reported that the affected group was consuming two to three times more dietary fructose than normal. In addition to lipogenesis, excess fructose consumption has also been linked to liver inflammation, oxidative stress injury to liver cells.
The effect of fructose on brain health has been little explored to date. However, most recent evidence This suggests that even short-term fructose consumption may negatively affect brain health by increasing neuroinflammation, brain mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress.
a 2021 review It has been noted that prolonged consumption of fructose can threaten brain function and lead to several neurological disorders.
a university of california study Scientists found that fructose can damage hundreds of brain genes and lead to a variety of diseases, from diabetes to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Heart health, obesity and diabetes
High fructose consumption also leads to insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes. The regular function of leptin, the body weight-regulating hormone, is affected by excessive intake of fructose resulting in fat accumulationInsulin resistance and glucose intolerance.
a 2016 Animal Studies 2 reported that two months of fructose supplementation led to accumulation of triglycerides in the liver and impaired insulin function. Similarly, a 7-day high-fructose diet resulted in an accumulation of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, as reported in a report. 2009 study.
In addition to causing obesity and diabetes, Fructose raises uric acid levels It also raises blood pressure and triglycerides in the blood that leads to gout.
Excess fructose can cause diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a digestive disorder with abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, constipation and/or diarrhea. In many people, there is improper digestion and absorption of fructose. diarrhea, flatulence, and belching. About 68 patients with known symptoms of IBS improved significantly after consuming a low-fructose diet. 2013 Intervention Study.
The fruit or fruit diet is a highly restrictive diet that recommends eliminating all animal products, including dairy. People on fruit diet mainly consume raw fruits. This diet recommends avoiding other food groups such as whole grains, legumes, etc. with some allowance for vegetables, nuts and seeds. Thus a fruit diet lacks many important nutrients – protein, B vitamins, omega 3, calcium, iron which lead to nutrient deficiencies in the long run. This diet is also very heavy on fructose sugar which makes it a harmful choice for people suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
How much is too much?
The high amount of water and fiber in whole fruits make them incredibly filling. Because of this, it is impossible for most people to eat too much fruit. Existing prevalence data suggest that a small percentage of people regularly meet their recommended fruit intake. less than one in 10 Americans account Minimum Daily Recommended Fruits Per Day. in India, Average intake of fruits and vegetables per day It has only 3.5 servings, which is far below the typical recommendation per day—five servings, or 400 grams per day.
Some studies evaluated the health consequences of consuming more than 20 servings of fruit per day and found no adverse side effects. However, the scientific credibility of these studies is low because the sample size was too small. 10 only. involve And 17 participants respectively.
Eating more fruit than the general recommendation did not provide any additional benefits, a large analysis of 16 scientific studies showed.
Fruit as part of a low-carbohydrate diet in the management of diabetes
The increasing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is making a variety of low-carbohydrate diets popular among the global population. latest evidence This suggests that replacing a traditional high-carb diet with a healthy fat diet may improve insulin sensitivity in most.
A low-carb diet recommends 100–150 grams of carbohydrates per day. Ultra-low-carb diets or ketogenic diets recommend fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day. Eating fruits in a keto-style diet is limited because fruits contain about 15-30 grams of carbs per slice.
Fruit is recommended as part of a balanced diet in people with diabetes and the amount is highly individualized as there is no typical ‘diabetic diet’. However, fruit selection is important for diabetes management due to the high fructose content in fruits. This choice is based on the glycemic index (GI) value of each fruit. The GI value is defined as how much a particular food can raise blood sugar levels after eating. Fruits with a GI of 70 and above are considered very high in sugar and need to be avoided when planning a diabetes meal plan. Medium GI fruits have a GI value between 56 and 69. Low GI fruits are those that have a GI value of 55 and below.
List of fruits according to their GI value to help in planning diabetic meals
High and medium GI fruits – Watermelon, dates, pineapple, overripe bananas, grapes, pomegranates, papayas, oysters
low GI fruits – cherries, Apple, Grapes, Avocado, Orange, Plum, Strawberry, Blueberry, Pear, Guava.
It is undeniable that fruits have many health benefits. At the same time, fructose, fruit sugar has been found to affect vital organs. This begs the question whether excess fructose in the form of fruit can have a similar result! Research is still inconclusive. That being said, make small amounts of whole, fresh, raw fruit as part of your balanced diet. But don’t overdo the fruit, especially in commercial liquid form.
Next Column – Conscious Eating for Sustainable Weight Loss