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Q: Sugar From Fruit ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Sugar From Fruit
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: pennypacker-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 01 Aug 2006 14:09 PDT
Expires: 31 Aug 2006 14:09 PDT
Question ID: 751591
Why is the sugar in fruit so much healthier than processed sugar? If I
eat an apple that has, say 1 gram of natural sugar vs eating 1 gram of
processed white sugar, why is the sugar in the apple not as bad for
me? Don't they both contribute to sugar in my blood as well as sugar
on my teeth?
Subject: Re: Sugar From Fruit
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 01 Aug 2006 14:48 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
The difference between FRUIT sugar (fructose) and refined sugar
(sucrose) is as follows.

Fruit sugar is something known as FRUCTOSE

"Fructose is broken down by the body slowly and is converted into
SUCROSE and GLYCOGEN. Fructose is often recommended for, and consumed
by, people with diabetes mellitus or hypoglycemia, because it has a
very low Glycemic Index (GI 23) relative to cane sugar."

"Glycemic index (also glycaemic index, GI) is a ranking system for
carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels.
It compares carbohydrates gram for gram in individual foods, providing
a numerical, evidence-based index of postprandial (post-meal)
glycemia. The concept was invented by Dr. David J. Jenkins and
colleagues in 1981 at the University of Toronto."

Sucrose (common name: table sugar, also called saccharose) is a
disaccharide (glucose + fructose) with the molecular formula

This website explains it well

"There are differences between the different sugars. When we eat
sucrose, our bodies quickly break it down into roughly equal parts of
glucose and fructose. Glucose is the sugar our bodies use for both
physical and mental energy. When our bodies sense an increase of
glucose in the blood, it immediately directs the pancreas to push
insulin into the blood stream. With the insulin, the body is able to
burn the glucose as energy. If there's too much glucose in the blood
stream to be used as energy, the glucose can be changed to glycogen,
the body's short-term storage energy supply. And if the glycogen pool
is already full, the body will turn it into long term storage in the
form of fat.
Different blood-sugar effects possible after
eating a high concentration of sucrose sugar.

Different blood-sugar effects possible after eating a high
concentration of sucrose sugar.
Depending on the condition of the pancreas, the above graph shows what
can happen when a person eats a lot of sucrose sweets at one time. In
each of the three cases, the large amount of sugar dramatically raises
the blood-sugar level but the results can be radically different if no
medication is given.
Eating a huge amount of sugar at once with it's resultant spike in the
blood-sugar level can cause stress to a weak pancreas as it struggles
to deliver enough insulin to bring down the blood-sugar to acceptable
        This cycle is especially hard on people who have an abnormal
pancreas. If the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin that person
is considered diabetic. If it produces too much insulin they are
considered hypoglycemic. These people will generally suffer from an
abnormal glucose level depending on what their condition is. Checking
the graph to the right, when a person eats too much sugar (sucrose),
there is a resulting rapid increase in their blood sugar level. If
things are working normally, the pancreas produces just enough insulin
to bring the blood-sugar level back down to normal. If they are
diabetic and no medication is given, there isn't enough insulin
produced and the blood-sugar level remains elevated. In a hypoglycemic
person, as the blood-sugar level raises, their over-active pancreas
dumps too much insulin into the blood stream and they end up with low
blood sugar levels which creates it's own havoc.
        Using fructose instead of sucrose puts a strong damper on many
of these problems. Your body can't use fructose without converting it
into glucose in the liver. Actually, most of the time, however, unless
your body needs to immediately increase it's blood-sugar level, the
liver changes fructose into glycogen first. We have already mentioned
glycogen which is the body's short term energy supply. A typical adult
will have as much as 3/4 pound of glycogen in their various tissues at
one time, mostly stored in the liver and muscles. As the glucose level
in the blood begins to drop, the liver can rapidly convert this stored
glycogen into glucose."

In short the reason why Fruit sugar is better for you than table sugar
is that by eating table sugar (Sucrose) our bodies go out of sync with
our sugar levels as the sugar is processed in the body extremely fast
and in doing this the body informs the pancreas to pump out insulin.
Someone with a weak pancreas will have a hard time doing this.

Fructose (Fruit sugar) is broken down more slowly which allows the
body more time to react to the sweetener that has been consumed. This
puts less stress on the body and also the pancreas which is good news
for diabetics as they too can have sweet tasting things but without
the worry of a sudden sugar spike.

Any questions leave me a comment.


Clarification of Answer by keystroke-ga on 01 Aug 2006 16:40 PDT

Upon further research, I must amend my previous answer to state that
in fact, fructose might only be a healthy alternative for those who
have diabetes. There is a large debate over whether fructose is
healthier than glucose and the arguments continue among scientists.

Eaten in moderation, fructose is not harmful and the natural foods it
is contained in (fruits) are some of the healthiest foods humans can
eat. However, the problems are caused by eating too much fructose at a
time, such as with the advent of high fructose corn syrup. A gram of
fructose from an apple is healthier compared to a gram of table sugar
because the fructose comes with an apple, whereas the table sugar
probably comes from a cookie or slice of cake.   Because the fructose
is contained within the fruit, it doesn't coat the teeth and cause
damage on the level that something like cake icing or sodas do.

While fructose is often recommended for diabetics for the blood sugar
effects, it can have adverse effects as well.

Fructose has no vitamins or minerals and in fact can rob the body of
nutrients already stored.

It can raise the levels of LDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.

It can interact negatively with women on oral contraceptives and cause
them to experience raised insulin levels.

Sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose.  Glucose is the form of
sugar that is actually used to produce energy, whereas fructose is
quickly turned to fat, and some experts believe this is a main reason
Americans are getting fatter.  Most sodas and other sugary treats have
"high fructose corn syrup" instead of regular sugar, due to the high
sugar subsidies imposed by the US. Other countries have actual sugar
in their drinks.   Since high fructose corn syrup is a major part of
many Americans' diet, this could be a very plausible explanation for
the growing obesity problem.  The average American eats 153 pounds of
sugar a year, mostly in the form of fructose.

All of the above side effects differ by age, sex, how much fructose is
consumed, and insulin concentrations in an individual.

Or, as this website says,
"HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP - Simply stated: It is NOT good for you

Ever wonder why Americans are so fat? High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
consumption closely parallels (causes?) the fattening of America. And,
HFCS has been linked to insulin resistance and elevated triglyceride
levels (a heart disease marker)."

Here is an animal study on the subject:

"Sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose. When sugar is given to
rats in high amounts, the rats develop multiple health problems,
especially when the rats were deficient in certain nutrients, such as
copper. The researchers wanted to know whether it was the fructose or
the glucose moiety that was causing the problems. So they repeated
their studies with two groups of rats, one given high amounts of
glucose and one given high amounts of fructose.

The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous
results. The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high
cholesterol and heart hypertrophy-that means that their hearts
enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular
development. Dr. Field explains that fructose in combination with
copper deficiency in the growing animal interferes with collagen
production. (Copper deficiency, by the way, is widespread in
America.)... The females were not so affected, but they were unable to
produce live young."

Sources:  (pdf)

Search terms:
fructose vs glucose
fructose healthier glucose

If you have any questions, let me know.

pennypacker-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Sugar From Fruit
From: dops-ga on 03 Aug 2006 18:43 PDT
Don't be misled. This is one of the major misconceptions of science
education. Sugars (including sucrose) are not inherently bad. They are
fuels: sucrose for plants, glucose for us.

Also all fruits contain high levels of sucrose. It is the predominant
sugar in plants and is the major source of energy for photosynthetic
plants. Excess sucrose is stored as starch. Sucrose is extracted to
make table sugar.  It doesn't matter if you get 1 gram from your apple
or 1 gram from your sugar bowl. The sugar from your apple does
increase your blood sugar. This is why diabetics are cautioned not to
eat fruits and vegetables (carrots, bannanas, grapes...) with high
levels of sucrose. The benefit to eating fruit as opposed to just
table sugar is that fruits also conatin vitamins and starches that add
nutritional value.

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