So, you’ve heard all about fat-building fructose, but how much do you know about glucose? We’ll give you the run down on fructose’s “nicer cousin” – and whether it deserves that reputation.
What is glucose?
Glucose is the main kind of sugar found in our blood and it’s a key source of our body’s energy. We get it from the foods we eat, though it can also be produced by our bodies without dietary assistance. Insulin is one of the hormones responsible for managing our glucose levels, which is why it’s so important to eat sugary foods in moderation – insulin resistance often occurs when we’ve overloaded our bodies with sugar – particularly fructose, but we’ll get into that in just a moment.
You’ll find glucose in:
- Fruits and some veggies.
- Soft drinks and other sugary beverages.
- Sauces including tomato, barbeque, mayo and mustard.
- Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and high-fructose corn syrup.
- Cookies, cakes and confectionery.
The difference between glucose and fructose.
Fructose and glucose are the two halves that make up sucrose – in other words, sugar. Unlike glucose, which is absorbed into the small intestine and used as energy, fructose can’t be further broken down by the body and needs the liver to metabolise it. That puts a lot of strain on our livers if we start consuming fructose in excess. The results are dangerous health issues including heart disease, liver failure and obesity.
With rates rising at an alarming rate, obesity is one of the great public health issues affecting countries around the globe. Cases have tripled since 1975, with over 1.9 billion people living with the condition, and studies have found a direct link between obesity and excessive fructose intake, with researchers finding it causes development of visceral fat. This is the kind of fat that wraps around the abdominal organs, and it’s more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, which is generally harmless and is found between the skin and the external abdominal wall. One of the biggest consequences of this is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Affecting 25% of the population, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a rapidly health concern, especially considering the ever-increasing usage of fructose in processed foods. With one study finding 12% of kids have the condition, it’s clear to see how widespread this issue is, regardless of age or sex, we’re all at risk. This disease is projected to become the become the leading cause of cirrhosis – late-stage liver disease – within the next decade. So, it’s for good reason that we’re being advised to cut down on fructose consumption. But you’re probably wondering where that leaves glucose.
Well, to put it shortly, glucose is better than fructose, considering the latter of which has been found to cause cell damage and alter the brain’s genes. Another study found glucose consumption led to less incidence of metabolic dysfunction and obesity than fructose, and even allowed for some protection when it came to sugar tolerance and fatty liver disease.
But – and there is a massive but! – it’s still sugar. With that comes sugar crashes, unstable blood sugars and all the resulting symptoms and side-effects. Take a look at the short-list:
- Mood swings.
- Tingling in hands and feet.
- Blurry vision.
- Increased thirst.
- Increased hunger.
- Fatigue and weakness.
While glucose won’t cause weight gain and health issues at the same rate as fructose, moderation is key.
If you’re in need of a little extra help in finding the balance and shaking off those cravings, we’re here to help. Join us for our 8-Week Program where we’ll be ditching sugar. With exclusive meal plans and nutritious recipes that benefit your whole body, there’s never been a better time to turn your life around. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of expert-crafted meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support from the I Quit Sugar team, plus our panel of experts.
- Mental and physical health benefits that last a lifetime.
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