Fruits: The Naturally Sweet Treat That Doesn’t Cause Weight Gain

Good news, fruit lovers! Research shows that moderate fructose consumption may not contribute to weight gain. Fructose has gotten a bad rap recently; it’s been labeled as a cause of the obesity epidemic due to its association with high-fructose corn syrup.  But really, the sugar itself does not seem to be the problem. Natural fructose is found in fruits (both raw and dried), fruit juices and honey.  Synthetic fructose is in high-fructose corn syrup, which is found in, well, a lot…cola, bread, ketchup, granola bars, cereal — the list goes on and on.

A review of several original studies surrounding the effect of fructose consumption on body weight in overweight people showed that fructose consumption was not associated with any weight gain, or change in blood levels different from other sugars.  Other reviews that focused on normal weight individuals found the same thing.  This review labeled “moderate” fructose consumption as 50g/day, but did not see negative effects with consumption of up to 130g of fructose/day.

Some experts think 30 percent of us are fructose intolerant and don’t even know it; they believe high-fructose diets can cause bloating, cramping, diarrhea or constipation. Such side effects were not examined in this review.

The amount of fructose in high-fructose corn syrup products far outweighs the fructose in natural sources of the sugar.  So reaching that moderate intake can occur a lot quicker.

Getting fructose from natural sources has lots of other additional benefits too; fruits are high in fiber and antioxidants, which soda is not.  So put down that soda can and pick up an apple.

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