27 Nov Fine Tune Your Metabolism for Weight Loss: Fructose
What hidden factors could be harming your metabolism?
Weight loss is not easy and many people struggle with carrying extra fat deposits here in Australia. Much of an Australian’s nutritional advice comes from the television, friends/co-workers, or family, which compounds an already difficult task. Most of this advice is fad information; what is the popular topic at the time. A great example at the moment is Garcinia Cambogia as the miracle herb for weight loss! However some of these fads have merit and some not so known ‘fad like’ information has some science behind it. So what are these hidden factors affecting your metabolism?
The predominant sugar found in fruit is fructose, which gives fruit its sweet taste upon ripening. This sugar is also found in table sugar and many natural sweeteners, such as agave. Fructose is very different compared to its cousin glucose in structure and therefore has it’s own unique metabolism in the body. Glucose is ready to use straight away by the body but fructose will be absorbed and transported to the liver. Fructose then goes through a series of reactions to change this compound into usable glucose. In an average person with no weight issues or overconsumption of carbohydrates, fructose metabolism plays no part in disrupting metabolism. However if you have fatty liver, weight issues, diabetes or insulin resistance that metabolism in the liver of fructose can have consequences.
Fructose has two pathways, or endpoints, in the liver. If you have small amounts of carbohydrate and fat stores, fructose is metabolised into glucose very readily. If carbohydrate or fat stores are full, fructose gets shuttled into cholesterol, blood fat (triglycerides) and free fatty acids. These compounds then become a problem with metabolism. Cholesterol, especially the one formed by fructose overconsumption is very damaging to the cardiovascular system. Triglycerides and free fatty acids are readily stored in the liver as fatty deposits, which links fructose overconsumption to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. These same fats are also readily stored around the waistline and within muscle. This storage of fat within tissues and around the waistline dramatically increases the risk of diabetes. So these compounds formed by excess fructose consumption lead to poor blood glucose control, elevated blood lipids, elevated fat deposits and harm the liver, which you guessed it contributes to weight gain.
Another interesting aspect of fructose is how the body regulates the consumption in relation to appetite. Glucose when it is consumed and absorbed, reports messages to the brain that you are full. More glucose consumed more that full message is received. Fructose on the other hand does not influence the body to report back with increasing consumption, a stronger message of fullness. It is totally unregulated by chemicals the body releases in response to food to regulate appetite. This is of serious concern as fructose has the ability to disrupt blood sugar regulation and be consumed very easily in large amounts, a disaster for diabetes and weight control.
Fructose is a natural part of the Australian diet but as with many things moderation is the key. If you have any of the above mentioned problems it may be wise to reduce consumption to minimal levels.
I’ll discuss another factor which affects the metabolism in my next article. Stay tuned!