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Try cutting fruit sugar to lose weight

July 24, 2008 | 12:59 pm

The long reign of trans fats as worst dietary substance may be nearing an end. Trans fats are still very, very bad, mind you. But lately, researchers have pointed to a new culprit in the country's battle with obesity: fructose. A study published in the new issue of the Journal of Nutrition suggests that one of the reasons people on low-carbohydrate diets lose weight is that they reduce their intake of fructose. Fructose, a type of sugar found in fruit, can be made into body fat with stunning speed.

Fructose4_2The researchers, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, asked healthy, normal-weight volunteers to consume three different drinks in three separate tests. The drinks varied in their composition of fructose and glucose. After a drink, the subjects ate a regular lunch an hour later. The study found that the process by which sugars are turned into body fat increased  when as little as half of the glucose was replaced with fructose. While glucose passes through the liver, which decides whether to burn it for energy or turn it into fat, fructose hits the ground running.

"It's basically sneaking into the rock concert through the fence," says Dr. Elizabeth Parks, the lead investigator. "It's a less-controlled movement of fructose through these pathways that causes it to contribute to greater triglyceride synthesis. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body."

Fructose consumed in the morning changed the way the body handled food eaten at lunch. Primed by the earlier fructose, the lunch fat was more likely to be stored than burned, the study showed.

This doesn't mean fruit is bad for you. Fruit has some redeeming values. But beware of the high-fructose corn syrup added to many processed foods, Parks says.

A study released last month also fingered fructose. A paper presented at the Endocrine Society meeting by a UC Davis scientist showed that people who ate a diet in which 25% of their energy came from fructose gained more intra-abdominal fat (the pot-belly effect) and had higher triglycerides than people who ate a similar diet in which 25% of their energy came from glucose. The author of that study, So Peter Havel, concluded that people with metabolic syndrome should avoid drinking too many fructose-containing beverages.

-- Shari Roan

High-fructose corn syrup is found in many sodas, snacks and processed foods.

Photo: Hal Wells/Los Angeles Times

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Comments (12)

"Fruit has some redeeming qualities"? No. Fruit is good for you. You are not going to get fat eating fruit. That doesn't happen. HIgh fructose corn syrup is horrible for you. That is not news. It leads ot obesity, diabetes, and other problems if consumed too much and Americans consume it too much.

If someone is not familiar with food and nutrition, this blurb is incredibly misleading. High fructose corn syrup a highly processed product derived from corn and is nothing close to the same thing as fruit that also contains among other things, fiber and other nutrients critical for survival. The title of this post makes it sound as if you should cut down on eating fruit.

Before February of this year I used to drink a glass of orange juice with breakfast and regularly ate fruit. Then at the end of February I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. After that I physically felt how much sugar is contained in "100% Pure Orange Juice". Two sips this morning raised my sugar 80 points...two sips! No one is saying fruit is bad for you, some fruits contain great amounts of fiber and vitamins. Moderation is key to everything, even fruit. Do you really need that entire 8 oz glass of orange juice that has more sugar in it than Coca Cola?

Over the past 5 months I cut out sugar soda, and it has been one of the main reasons I've lost 30lbs. I still enjoy some diet sodas (vodka really helps the aftertaste), but I can tell you its a factor in staying heavy. Note. I also increased exercise and reduced eating pizza, and mexican food.

yup fruit is good. BEWARE of anything (and there are plenty) with high fructose corn syrup. My overindulgence (1 coke a day and a slightly above average intake of processed and packaged foods, not TOO out of the ordinary) led to a fructose intolerance. I get horrible cramping and pain when I eat anything with fructose now. I can't even eat most fruits because of this. BEWARE and avoid high fructose corn syrup. And enjoy glorious fruit instead. I miss it.

High fructose corn syrup is in just about everything these days. It is rarely disclosed when it is used as a preservative coating on milk cartons and frozen food packages. People need to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and drink less soft drinks and juice. The food industry needs to stop using things it doesn't disclose on the label. We all need to eat more foods that we prepare ourselves. That would be a good start.

"Fruit has some redeeming qualities" I wouldn't think such a stupid comment would be found on second graders Wednesday homework. Healthy diets aren't a mystery, we have known "eat more fruit and less candy" for as long as anyone took a moment to think about it. HIgh fructose corn syrup is candy and its a shame that it is put in drinks and that people don't think of those drinks as candy. A Coke should be considered dessert after a regular meal if you are going to have one at all.

Articles and studies like this are confusing and fail to provide helpful information to those trying to be more healthy. Fruit has lower levels of fructose than the levels found in high fructose corn syrup. It's like comparing a cup of decaf with a cup of espresso: both have caffeine but only the espresso is guaranteed to keep you up at night. If people want to reduce the amount of fructose they consume, they need to start with soda and all processed foods, not fruit.

I am shocked. I am no nutritionist but this is an extremely misleading article and should be pulled or have more relevant information included. Anybody who has studied food and the food industry for just a little bit such as myself should have red flags going off after reading this, and I certainly am. I'm amazed that this is in print and somebody got paid for this. Shouldn't the reporter have done a better job with their research on the subject at hand?

High fructose corn syrup is an artifical process, one step including the usage fungus Aspergillus. Watch "King Corn" if you want to see a glimpse into how it is done, or Google it. You'll be shocked at how it has been designed to make us fat and keep us fat without us ever knowing. The stuff causes so much health problems and should be banned, but too bad it is cheaper than real sugar.

Fruit is natural and good for our bodies. Fruit doesn't have "some" redeeming values, it IS exponentially better than the empty, nutritionally sparse caloric diet Americans are consuming. Just because HFCS has fructose and so does fruit does not mean they are necessarily the same thing. Get the facts straight.

The Texas Southwestern study is riddled with problems. Specifically, the following to name just a few:
1. It's a very small study (only six people). It's hard to make any reasonable conclusions on such a small study.
2. It's a very artificial situation. Pure fructose and pure glucose are not found in the American diet.
3. The major sweeteners in the American diet are high fructose corn syrup and sucrose. These two sweeteners are virtually the same from a chemical standpoint. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it's most common form contains 55% fructose, 42% glucose and 3% other carbohydrates. Sucrose contains 50% fructose and 50% glucose. The body absorbs both HFCS and sucrose identically. Studies in my research laboratory and others have shown no difference in any metabolic parameter yet measured between HFCS and sucrose.
4. A study comparing pure fructose to pure glucose is highly misleading and will only confuse the public. HFCS and pure fructose are very different compounds!
5. More studies comparing HFCS to sucrose are currently underway in my research laboratory and will be published later this year.
6. No reasonable person should change their diet based on the small study containing misleading information that was cited in Tara Parker Pope's article.

The intake of fructose is really dangerous for our body. I read an exemplified study and the results at http://www.projectweightloss.com and I started wondering if I am one of those cases. I started eating fruits as included in my diets, but apparently some don`t work the way I want it.

My Dr. suggested I cut out juice and sugar a few weeks ago. I am hypo thyroid and find it very difficult to drop weight.

..............I've lost 12 pounds and a full dress size in just 2 weeks. This is crazy wonderful news for people like me! I miss juice and fruit - I drank a lot of it. I've added sweets and sugar packed items to my "no" list now.

Everyone is different. If you find yourself like me, stuck and frustrated. Try cutting the sugar. You may find yourself thinner and happier like me.



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