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The 10 Dumbest Diet Myths


8. Of Course You’re Fat and Have B.O. and Acne! You Ate Some Fructose!

The human body prefers glucose as its energy source. However, it quite readily accepts fructose, too.

When ingested, the fructose is shuttled to the liver (unless you’re really energy depleted) and then diverted to liver mitochondria, which either package the fructose as glycogen for short-term use or store it as fat.

While this process is reversible, it’s not a good thing for liver health or function if it continues for any length of time. Some scientists have even gone so far as to call fructose “alcohol without the buzz.”

Unfortunately, the fact that fructose can be stored as fat and that it’s potentially damaging to the liver have caused a disproportionate fear of fructose, a condition I call “fructose derangement syndrome.”

The research just doesn’t support the fears. John Sievenpiper, a nutritionist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, looked at 41 studies using humans and noted that when people ate the same amount of calories, whether it was from fructose or some other carb source, they gained the same amount of weight.

And, you can easily make an empirical observation and see that despite the mass avoidance of all things fructose, national obesity claims have continued to rise.

But let’s apply some logic to the situation. The most “potent” fructose blend – the much-dreaded high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – has a fructose content of about 55%, while the remaining 45% is glucose. Compare that to sucrose, or table sugar, which is a blend of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

That means that if you were to eat 100 grams of HFCS a day, which is a little over the amount you’d ingest in three cans of Coke, you’d be getting 5 more grams of fructose than if you ingested an equal amount of sucrose.

That’s small potatoes, which, coincidentally, contain a relatively high amount of fructose, at least in comparison to most other vegetables.

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