The Dangers of Sugar and Fructose
I recently saw a very health conscious 40 year old male who, 6 months before, successfully adopted a low carbohydrate lifestyle losing 20 pounds. Over the last three months, however, he added a morning smoothie with bananas and various “healthy” juices, as well as whey protein.
He has also began eating bananas and apples throughout the day and after work-outs. His recent lab tests show his fasting sugar has increased above 100 mg/dl, his triglycerides have increased by 50 points and his VLDL’s (very low density lipoproteins) doubled.
In addition, his weight loss leveled out and despite working out a lot, gained weight and some fat around the mid-section. Do you wonder what is going on here? He is demonstrating signs of fructose toxicity.
Sugar, or table sugar, is made up of 50 % Fructose and 50% glucose. Juices, apples and bananas have higher concentrations of fructose approaching 60% fructose and 40% glucose. Fructose is a toxin. The metabolism of fructose in the liver causes the elevation of triglycerides, VLDL and acyl-glycerols that get trapped in your liver causing fatty liver changes (elevated uric acid levels that cause Gout and even high blood pressure.)
Fortunately, these changes are rapidly reversed by getting rid of sugars and high fructose foods. So, what is the physiology behind why fructose is really a toxin?
When you eat products containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup, your body breaks it down to glucose and fructose in your intestines. Glucose is used by your brain, muscles, organs systems and even some by the heart, but the heart runs much better on fats.
When glucose hits your liver for metabolism, 80 percent of it is already used by your body, and the remaining 20 % is broken down in the liver. Unfortunately fructose is very different. Fructose is not used by your brain; it is not used by your muscles or any organs in your body.
In fact, it doesn’t even cause insulin levels to go up, and therefore leptins won’t signal your brain that you have plenty of food and are satisfied. So you’re still hungry. It is then transported 100 % intact to the liver for metabolism. And here is the big problem. It overloads your liver’s ability to metabolize substances.
Fructose enters the liver cells and is ultimately converted to 4 main compounds. The first involves a number of enzyme systems and is called de novo lipogenesis new fat formation. So it is fructose that causes fat formation, NOT fat!
The second produces compounds that gum up the liver resulting in elevated liver enzymes and a condition called fatty liver. The third is the production of VLDL’s or very low density lipoproteins which are now being considered more atherogenic (arterial plaque producing) than the “bad” LDL’s.
Lastly excess triglycerides are pumped out of the liver resulting in the classic metabolic syndrome lipid abnormalities of high triglycerides, high VLDL’s, and low HDL’s. And it get’s worse. Because of the tremendous load on the liver it causes an increase in uric acid. This is known to cause gout, but another problem with uric acid is that it blocks the relaxation of arterial blood vessels, thus causing hypertension.
So to summarize, what do you call a substance that our body can’t use, and that the only way it is metabolized is through the liver? And the breakdown products result in products that are dangerous to our body? That is the perfect definition for a toxin and fructose is a toxin. So getting control of sugar consumption is a lifesaving goal.
And using Stop-it to help you beat those cravings and regain your health is a great decision. A healthy decision and a smart decision.