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More About Sugar

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I've been doing more research into sugar. I'm not a chemist or biochemist, so I don't have labs where I could run my own tests. I'll have to rely on information I can find by others.

One of the things I wanted to understand is how sugar is metabolized, is one more harmful than the other, and how are they different. Glucose and fructose are the two types.

Table sugar, sucrose, is 50/50 glucose and fructose. It is broken apart by an enzyme called sucrase. Glucose can be used immediately, and our bodies prefer this type to store as glycogen. Glycogen is stored in our muscles. Whenever we need a quick burst of energy, like lifting something, we burn the glycogen. Heavy weightlifting and cardio will deplete glycogen the fastest, but any prolonged activity will burn some, and it needs to be replenished. If you eat a carbohydrate, after a workout is the best time to do it. Replenishing glycogen is a priority in the metabolic system, and so some of the carbs will be stored as glycogen rather than fat.

Glucose causes the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin turns on fat storage mechanisms. How fast this happens is measured by the glycemic index.


Fructose is different. Fructose is processed in the liver. Fructose does not stimulate insulin. It also does not raise blood sugar levels. Diabetics measure blood glucose. Fructose is rapidly disposed of into fat cells, primarily in the liver.

Glucose increases abdominal fat. Fructose is primarily responsible for increase in visceral fat. The dangerous kind that attaches to organs that you can't see.

Fructose tastes sweeter than glucose, which is why HFCS were invented. The food industry can use less, for the same amount of sweetness. HFCS is 55/45 fructose/glucose. That 5% difference is significant in volume, and over time.

Fruit is more fructose than glucose, but there is a difference. Sugars in fruit come packaged with fiber. The digestive system has to break down the fiber, then enzymes go to work to sort and process the components. If you eat a cookie, not much work has to be done to get to the fructose/glucose. It happens much faster.

In order to get 500 calories worth of fructose from an apple, you have to eat 20 apples. An equivalent amount of table sugar is 14 tablespoons. HFCS is just 7 tablespoons.

How many of us have overeaten and binged on apples?

There's more I can say, but I need to wrap this up. The faster this happens, the more fat you will store because rising blood glucose and fructose is toxic. The body must eliminate it as quickly as possible. Our bodies have simply never encountered the fructose load in nature as it does when we eat a few Chips Ahoy cookies with HFCS as the primary sweetener.


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Very thought-provoking - and here's something many people don't know about apples. Some of them are INJECTED with sweeteners including grape juice to increase the flavor - I figure it's just a matter of time before HCFS is injected into all sorts of fresh fruits so we need to be aware of the possibility, as well as the possibility of GMO produce which has unknown effects. It's scary but we may not be able to 'trust' even fresh produce unless we grow it ourselves!
    3104 days ago
    I only get organic apples, too. I go for pink ladies. The ones I get are not particularly big. I guess I wasn't thinking about gigantic waxed conventional apples...
    3132 days ago
    Goes to show how we all can vary. I don't generally like eating a full conventional apple - they are too big. Organic apples are smaller, and less sweet, and those are what I generally buy. Two doesn't sound appetizing, and 3 would give me a stomach ache.
    3132 days ago
    There's a reason I used to weigh over 330 lbs. I can binge and overeat almost ANYTHING.


    Apples, along with any other kind of fruit, are a trigger food for me. I have to limit my access, especially at home at night.

    If I could stop at just 3 I might be doing well, comparatively.
    3132 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/25/2012 11:03:31 AM
    I can eat about 3. ;-)
    3132 days ago
    I'm truly amazed! I can't eat more than one at a time.
    3132 days ago
    I have overeaten and binged on apples.
    3132 days ago
    Thanks for all the great information.
    3133 days ago
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    What great information ! Thank you for taking the time and effort to post in a blog!
    3133 days ago
    Very good, glad you did all the work.
    3134 days ago
    Nice overview of sugar! Thanks for sharing it.
    3134 days ago
    Thanks for posting this! It was really informative. I went back and read your previous sugar post& the following comments as well. My dad always used to tell me from a young age: "Sugar is evil!" and try to steer us away from sweets and sodas. I'd just say "But it tastes so good!" lol
    He wasn't always the best at explaining the hows& whys, so it's really interesting to read the reasearch on it. I saw a clip from "Fat Head" the other day that explained insulin interaction pretty well. It's mostly about how cels store fat and use energy, but they go into the insulin stuff around halfway through. I haven't seen the documentary, but this clip was interesting!


    I have to wonder if the damage done by years of eating processed foods and HFCs is permenant. It sounds like there's some serious metabolic change going on because of that stuff. There's just so much info out thee, and it's hard to know what's true. :(
    3134 days ago
    Two comments: metabolic syndrome. And.... dude, I *have* totally binged on apples. (I love them!) ;-)
    3134 days ago
    I would like to see a commercial to counter the sugar industry dumbed down ads about why HFCS is no different or "sugar is sugar".

    Thanks for putting this together!

    3134 days ago
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