What the Fructose?! Why Too Much of it is Awful for Your Health

June 30, 2015   |   32 Comments   |   90

When it comes to the topic of sugars, the majority of people in this country become confused and overwhelmed. Most consumers know by now that eating excess sugar is a bad idea; they know that too much sugar in the diet can cause weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes. But ask them how fructose works in the body and which foods contain high levels and their eyes glaze over.

In this article we’re going to take a look at the reality of fructose and why too much is harmful to our health, the difference between glucose, fructose and sucrose, and which foods are high in fructose and should be avoided.

The Difference Between Sucrose, Glucose & Fructose

Fructose, glucose and sucrose are what are known as “simple sugars” and all are important forms of carbohydrates. Sugars are of course found in whole foods and often added to processed foods to make them sweeter. Our tongues cannot tell the difference between the different sugars but it’s important to understand that our bodies use and process them all very differently.


Let’s start with glucose because it is our body’s preferred source of energy. Glucose is another term for blood sugar. Most of the carbohydrates we consume are converted into glucose and either used immediately or stored for later use. When the levels of glucose become too high in our blood stream, inulin is secreted in response to help get all of that energy into our cells.


Sucrose is commonly known as table sugar, and comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. Fruits and vegetables also naturally contain sucrose. When we eat sucrose, a special enzyme is dispatched by our bodies which break sucrose into its individual sugar units: glucose and fructose. Our bodies respond to the glucose in the usual manner, by using it immediately for energy; and the energy from fructose, which may not be needed, will be placed into fat synthesis, which is stimulated by the insulin released in response to glucose.


Fructose is a sugar found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It is also added to many processed foods like fruit juices and sodas. Fructose is very different from other sugars because it has a completely different metabolic pathway and is actually not the preferred source of energy for our brain or muscles.

Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver, and it is more lipogenic, meaning fat-producing, than glucose. And, unlike glucose, fructose does not cause the release of insulin nor does it stimulate the production of leptin, which is a critical hormone for energy regulation in the body. The bottom line is there is cause for concern about consuming chronically high levels of fructose because it acts more like fat in the body than a carbohydrate.

Now, fructose in small amounts has been in our species’ diet for thousands of years. The problem is modern man is consuming larger and larger amounts of fructose which is toxic to our bodies.

10 Reasons to Decrease Your Fructose Consumption

  1. Fructose cannot be used for energy by our bodies’ cells and can only be metabolized by the liver. In this sense, fructose becomes like a toxin in the body and the liver must then work hard to get rid of it. It does this by converting it into fat and sending it to our fat cells.
  2. It’s not surprising then that too much fructose can damage the liver and lead to insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. You may be surprised to know that fructose can have the same effect on the liver as alcohol, which as we know, is highly toxic to the liver.
  3. Fructose reacts with polyunsaturated fats and proteins in our bodies 7X more than glucose. This chemical reaction creates what are known as AGEs (advanced glycation end-products). These are compounds that create oxidative damage in our cells and ultimately cause inflammation and a host of chronic diseases.
  4. Fructose actually increases the levels of uric acid in the blood. These increased levels in turn cause gout, kidney stones and cause or worsen hypertension.
  5. Under the category of lose/lose: while the majority of your body’s cells cannot use fructose for energy, the bacteria in your GI tract LOVE it, feed off of it, and multiply until you have a bacterial overgrowth.
  6. Because chronic intake of too much fructose damages the liver, the result is dyslipidemia, a condition that causes abnormal amounts of lipids in the blood. Dyslipidemia is a precursor for heart disease.
  7. High levels of fructose cause leptin resistance which is a very bad thing because the hormone leptin controls appetite and metabolism to maintain a healthy weight. People who become leptin-resistant gain fat easily.
  8. Excess fructose can cause diabetes and the complications that go along with the disease.
  9. Like GI bacteria, cancer cells feed off of fructose and use it as their energy source.
  10. Excess fructose has been shown to impair memory in rats.

Fruit is NOT the Enemy

It’s important to note that it is fructose from added sugars that is harmful to our health, not fruit. Fruits are whole foods that contain necessary fiber and provide essential vitamins and minerals. You would have to eat crazy amounts of fruit to reach the harmful levels of fructose discussed in this article. Fruit, in general, is a lesser source of fructose in the diet compare to those foods with (sometimes hidden) added sugars.

Foods High in Hidden Fructose

Sauces and Toppings

Unless you are diligent about reading labels, you are most likely unaware that many sauces and toppings contain high levels of fructose.

  • Foods such as sweet and sour sources, fruit salsa, barbeque sauce and many salad dressings.
  • There are “fruit” toppings that actually have added fructose that should be avoided. Toppings such as strawberry, pineapple, blueberry and apple ice cream toppings should be avoided.
  • Jams and jellies also have high levels of fructose and should be consumed in moderation.


  • Most processed drinks on the market like sodas and fruit juices contain high levels of fructose.
  • Sweet wines like port, sherry and other desert wines are also loaded with this sugar.
  • Along these same lines, drink mixes also contain high amounts of fructose.
  • Some sports drinks that appear healthy contain added fructose so always read the labels.

Processed Foods

Much of the prepared foods on the market today contain fructose, even foods that don’t necessarily taste sweet.

  • Condiments such as ketchup, sweet pickles, peanut butters, frozen foods, breakfast cereals, canned foods, bread and crackers usually contain high levels of fructose.
  • More obvious prepared foods like pastries and chocolate contain very high levels of fructose.

Making sure you eat foods low in fructose is important to your overall health. The easiest way to do this is to read the labels on your food and eat as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible.


  1. Ursula

    September 21, 2020 Reply

    I wish I had known this much earlier

  2. Jerr

    December 21, 2019 Reply

    so much to learn; so little time. Thanks to all of you and the article on fructose.

  3. Steph

    October 26, 2019 Reply

    This email has been so helpful. Can hardly wait to receive this book. Have recently cut out alcohol, a known carcinogen with a free pass, and starting to reduce processed sugar intake, but knew there is so much more I can do to help myself. Hopefully, one day soon I'll be able to get off BP and thyroid meds. Very grateful for this information. Thank You.

  4. Karen

    August 17, 2019 Reply

    Thanks for the information it well help me I’m a new at this being a pre didactic. I can use all the right information I can get . Thanks

  5. Christine Cox

    July 29, 2019 Reply

    Thank you for the interesting information

  6. Dianna Schlipp

    July 27, 2019 Reply

    Wonderful article. I am so glad I read it. I know now to really look at labels now. Because I would like to better myself with my health. Please keep writing these great articles.

  7. Sharon honnell

    July 7, 2019 Reply

    Thank you. It is truly helpful.

  8. V.Rev. Stefan Mihailov

    November 14, 2018 Reply

    The very good information.

  9. Marianne

    June 18, 2018 Reply

    Thanks for explains this. I. Didn't understand much about this before.

  10. Regina

    January 2, 2018 Reply

    Good information. Just what I need as I begin this year taking more care of my health.

  11. Steve

    September 11, 2017 Reply

    I remember back in the 1970s when health food stores were selling and promoting bags of pure white granulated fructose sugar claiming it to be a far healthier alternative to standard cane or beet table sugar . Too often , especially back then these store sold products based on sale ability and profit rather than proven nutritional value .

  12. Tom Ronaldi

    June 5, 2017 Reply

    QUESTION. Why isn't FRUCTOSE listed within the Nutrition Facts advisory on all packaged foods?

  13. Mary

    April 16, 2017 Reply

    Your book is great. Thank you for helping me get my life in control.

  14. Mary Davies

    April 13, 2017 Reply

    Yes, I was hoping for recipes with only 60 grams of carbs a day

  15. Versie Zanders

    January 27, 2017 Reply

    I would like to say thank for one of the many great articles that I receive in my emails. I especially am grateful for this article on Fructose. I had no ideal of the effect it has on your body. I have a whole new way of reading the labels when I purchase food now. I now know what things to avoid, again great article.

  16. Lynn Pinto

    November 30, 2016 Reply

    I have a daughter who is Fructose Intolerant. It has made her life a living hell when it comes to eating. In this country between the Fructose added to foods and all the additives, etc added, she has a huge problem eating. I will say that much of the Fructose is being removed from foods, thank goodness. But their also natural Fructose found in foods i.e. Apples, honey, molasses, sugar alcohols.
    So, it is necessary to take that into consideration. My daughter would have very severe attacks of stomach cramping and diarrhea, often taking hours to recover. Food labels are a must in our family. There is a test for Fructose. After years of trouble I found a doctor that was smart enough to order the test for her. He was and is a life saver! She is now working on a Masters Degree in England, we were concerned about her eating problems, but she has had NO problem at all. What does that say about the food here in the USA? Sad she has to leave her home to be able to to eat.

  17. Junious W Felder

    May 11, 2016 Reply

    The articles are just what I needed. Some of the health issues you addressed is just the information The Dr did not discuss

  18. Polish Prince

    April 21, 2016 Reply

    Great article on fructose. I've been telling family members that even white sugar crystals are better than natural fructose. Somewhat ironic. You would think the body would have a harder time recognizing processed sugar more than the natural fructose. Need to mention something about lactose (milk sugar). I believe it's recognized like table sugar and doesn't get metabolized in the liver.

  19. Susan

    March 20, 2016 Reply

    Good Article. It is the High Fructose Corn Syrup that is added to so many foods that is a problem.

  20. Mary Barrow

    March 18, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for all the good information and advice.

    Are any test results available on the effects of consuming sugar alcohols such as Splenda.

  21. Dorothy Hemmons

    January 25, 2016 Reply

    Your excellent information is a gift from God. Thank you.

    • Hamza

      January 25, 2016 Reply

      You're very welcome Dorothy :)

  22. Gerard Chartier

    July 2, 2015 Reply

    Keep up the excellent information derived from your writings. Its just what we need to keep ourselves healthy

    • Bruce

      July 2, 2015 Reply

      We're very glad you find value in the information we share on our blog, Gerard. Here's to your health!

  23. baseballmomkynm@sbcglobal.net

    July 1, 2015 Reply


    • Dessyah

      August 21, 2015 Reply

      I much prefer iniovmatfre articles like this to that high brow literature.

  24. Gerard Chartier

    July 1, 2015 Reply

    Very informative-Now I have too modify my diet to conform with the new knowledge that I gained from you

  25. Beverley Coram

    July 1, 2015 Reply

    Can anything help when we lose our taste and smell

    • Bruce

      July 2, 2015 Reply

      Hi Beverley,

      Loss of taste and smell can be caused by a number of things. It is always best to see your doctor who can make an accurate diagnosis.

  26. Pradeep Chopra

    July 1, 2015 Reply

    Dear Sir, You have explained in a very concise and simple way the harmful effects of "added" fructose in our day- to-day food items.We generally associate fructose intake with fruits consumption but it is the fructose( eg. cheap corn syrup addition) in so many processed foods which is the culprit.Thanks for the practical advice and dietary warnings.

    • Bruce

      July 2, 2015 Reply

      Yes, fruit is not the enemy, it is the added sugar in processed foods we must be mindful of and avoid. Thanks for your comment.

  27. michael smith

    July 1, 2015 Reply

    good artical

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