Fructose is a monosaccharide found naturally in many natural and processed foods we consume nowadays. At first sight one would hardly expect that a substance related to fruits could have harmful effects on our health, but industrialization and easy access to this type of sugar is probably, according to some studies, important factors in the development of characteristics of metabolic syndrome in humans.
In our usual diet, high amounts of fructose can be found especially in table sugar (sucrose), which contains a 50:50 ratio of fructose and glucose, and another substance known as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has a 45:55 ratio of glucose and fructose respectively.
It has been found that a high consumption of fructose favors weight gain in healthy individuals, an increased level of triglycerides, Increased Blood Pressure, increased Uric Acid and development of insulin resistance, factors that are closely related to metabolic syndrome.
One mechanism that could favor the development of these problems is the inability of fructose to effectively raise levels of insulin and leptin, and thus decrease ghrelin concentrations, meaning that fructose fails at decreasing appetite, and therefore hunger will not go away!
Currently there’s a lot of information about the relationship between high consumption of fructose and the risk of gout and high uric acid. Fructose, unlike glucose, fructose must be metabolized in the liver and phosphorylated to fructose-1-phosphate using ATP, there’s no regulatory mechanism of this reaction and a considerable amount of IMP is produced, which is transformed to hypoxanthine and a pair of reactions later to uric acid.
It has been found that high levels of uric acid in the body have a direct relationship with increased blood pressure by inhibiting the availability of nitric oxide synthase, a reduction in uric acid levels has been found to decrease blood pressure.
It is very important to note that most of the time, excessive consumption of fructose does not necessarily have to deal with eating too much fruit, ditching fruit is not that healthy either, because they give us some very important vitamins and minerals, but excessive consumption of sugar, cakes, sweets and processed foods high in sucrose and HFCS can wreck havoc on our health, therefore it’s recommended to reduce the intake of this sugary foods.