The diets of our ancestors contained only very small amounts of fructose (fruit sugar). These days, estimates are that about 10% of the modern diet comes from fructose.
Fructose activates a key enzyme, fructokinase, which in turn activates another enzyme that causes cells to accumulate fat. When this enzyme is blocked, fat cannot be stored in the cell. This is the exact same “switch” animals use to fatten up in the fall and to burn fat during the winter. Fructose is the dietary ingredient that turns on this “switch,” causing cells to accumulate fat, both in animals and in humans. There is growing evidence that excess fructose consumption may facilitate insulin resistance.
All fructose works the same in the body, whether it comes from corn syrup, cane sugar, beet sugar, strawberries, onions, or tomatoes. Only the amounts are different. For example, a cup of chopped tomatoes has 2.5 grams of fructose, a can of regular (non-diet) soda supplies 23 grams, and a super-size soda has about 62 grams.
Tips on fructose consumption:
- Try to consume a total sugar/fructose intake below 25 grams a day, or as little as 15 grams a day.
- Be cautious of the amount of fruit juices and dry fruits you include in your daily regimen. Even if you have eliminated soda, candy, and other sugary products from your diet, be mindful of how much fruit you are eating to replace these.
- Try to have your larger meals in the mid day vs. later at night.
- If you consumed sugar, try drinking water, herbal tea or light vegetable juice 30 minutes after consumption. It supports healthy digestive function, blood sugar balancing, and liver support.
- If sugar is a constant craving for you, incorporate more protein and healthy fats at meal times, and drink water with lemon 30 minutes before meals.
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