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“Healthy” Foods that May be Sabotaging your Weight Loss Goals (and High Blood Pressure, etc.)
Dr. Beth Ley Knotts, Ph.D.

If you have ever struggled losing weight and keeping it off, you already know what a challenge that can be. Those of us who are obese eat more because of a faulty 'switch' and exercise less because of a low energy state. If you can learn how to control the specific 'switch' located in the powerhouse of each of your cells – the mitochondria – you hold the key to fighting obesity.
There are 5 basic truths regarding weight loss.
Large portions of food and too little exercise are NOT solely responsible for why you are gaining weight.
Metabolic Syndrome is A NORMAL CONDITION that animals undergo to store fat.
Uric acid is increased by specific foods such as fructose and CAUSALLY CONTRIBUTES to obesity and insulin resistance.
Fructose-containing sugars cause obesity not by calories but by turning on the fat switch.
Effective treatment of obesity requires turning off your fat switch and improving the function of your cells' mitochondria.
Dietary sugar, and fructose in particular, is a significant "tripper of your fat switch," so understanding how sugars of all kinds affect your weight and health is imperative.

All Sugars are Not Created or Function Equally

Anytime we discuss sugar, we're talking about ALL forms of sugar, but some types are clearly more hazardous than others, in terms of their effect on your biochemistry:
Table sugar is also known as sucrose, and sucrose contains one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose bound together (a disaccharide). But one sucrose molecule actually has a fructose and a glucose molecule bound to it. Sucrose or table sugar is basically about 50% fructose. When you eat this sucrose, the sucrose gets metabolized in the intestines to free fructose and free glucose that you then absorb.
High-fructose corn syrup is the other major source of fructose.
High-fructose corn syrup consists of a mixture of fructose and glucose mixed freely together. There's a little more fructose than glucose. It's not exactly a 50-50 ratio, and the ratio can vary depending upon which food is the source.
Natural fruits also have fructose. But, natural fruits contain so many wonderful things like vitamin C, antioxidants, resveratrol, flavonols, quercetin, which actually neutralize some of the negative effects of the fructose. Because of that, natural fruits do not seem to carry the same degree of risk.
Keep in mind that large amounts of fruits, fruit juices and dried fruits will typically contain large doses of fructose, so use in moderation. Drinking fruit juice or eating dried fruits if you're struggling with your weight is NOT recommended. The fructose content is concentrated in juice and dried fruits.
Natural sugars such as honey and agave syrup, are also very high in fructose.

How Fructose Metabolism Gives Rise to Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity

A summary of fructose metabolism is as follows:

• Every cell in your body utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is "burned up" immediately after you consume it. When you consume glucose, your liver only has to break down 20% of it.

By contrast, cells don’t use fructose for energy, so 100% of the fructose you eat is metabolized in your liver. Your liver is the only organ equipped with a fructose transporter, called GLUT5. Rather than being used as a quick energy source, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL, the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which are then stored as body fat.

When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat; 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat.

• Fructose metabolism is very similar to ethanol metabolism, which has a multitude of toxic effects. The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver (fatty liver) and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and NAFLD. This reaction creates AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), which are compounds that create oxidative damage in our cells and ultimately lead or contribute to inflammation and a host of chronic diseases.

• Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this. Yes, you read that right, fructose raises your triglycerides!

• As your body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin, your pancreas keeps releasing ever higher amounts of insulin in an effort to curb your rising blood sugar levels. Eventually, your pancreas loses the battle; your blood sugar levels keep rising, and you end up with metabolic syndrome and full-blown diabetes.

• While most of your body’s cells can’t use fructose as a source of energy, the bacteria in your gut can and excess fructose can create gut flora imbalances, promote bacterial overgrowth and promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

• The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

• These toxins are eliminated by the liver, mainly by transforming them into fat and sending that fat to our fat cells.

• Cancer cells thrive and proliferate very well with fructose as their energy source.

• Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose, on the other hand, does NOT appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn fails to suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and blocks leptin signaling (the "satiety hormone"). The end result is overeating and insulin resistance. In short, fructose tricks your body into gaining weight by turning off your body's natural appetite-control system.

Fructose Increases Risk for Pancreatic Cancer

Another problem with high fructose corn syrup is the burden it places on the pancreas. Research with over a million test subjects showed that a diet high in fructose was associated with an increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer. https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2012-10/high-fructose-corn-syrup-and-pancreatic-cancer

What foods are high in fructose?

Soda. (Pop)
Candy, Candy bars, etc.
Sweetened and Fruit-flavored Yogurt.
Salad Dressing.
Frozen Junk Foods.
Breads.
Canned Fruit.
Fruit Juice.
Fruit Paste and Sauces like Tomato, Chutney, Plum sauce, Sweet and sour and BBQ.
Dried fruit like Raisins or Dates.
The high-fructose fresh fruits include Apples, Cherries, Mangoes, watermelon and Pears.

What fruits are low in fructose?

Starting with the lowest and getting higher, here are some common low fructose fruits:
Tomatoes.
Avocados.
Lemons and limes.
Cantaloupe melon.
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.
Clementine.
Kiwi.
Grapefruit.
Bananas.
Oranges.

How much fructose should one eat in a day?

Healthy people without fructose malabsorption can absorb 40-50 grams of fructose daily without consequences. But for people with fructose malabsorption, the cells in your small intestine that would normally deal with fructose don’t work properly. The upper limit to the amount of fructose that these people can absorb is much lower (around 25 grams or less; some people react to as little as 5 grams). According to a meta-analysis of clinical trials evaluating fructose intake, 25-40 grams (25,000 to 40,000 mg) of fructose per day is safe. That's 3-4 bananas, 6 cups of strawberries, 10-15 cherries, or 1-2 apples per day. Or, as the old advice goes, a few servings of fruit every day.

Fructose Malabsorption
Some people will find they cannot tolerate fructose due to malabsorption. Fructose malabsorption is pretty complicated, and it can have the same symptoms as a lot of other functional digestive disorders like IBS or SIBO, even though the root cause is completely different. If you have gas and bloating issues, or if you get bouts of diarrhea after eating sweeteners like honey or dried fruits like raisins and dates, it may be a sign of fructose malabsorption.
The only really effective treatment is to find a level of fructose your body can tolerate and stick with it. Symptoms include:

Bloating.
Flatulence.
Diarrhea or soft stool (often smelly) / constipation.
Nausea.
Stomach ache.
Abdominal cramps.

While fructose is not a toxic substance in and of itself, when it's consumed in excessive doses, your liver simply cannot metabolize it. And when the overexposure is chronic, metabolic syndrome develops, and this is true even if you’re not obese.

Fructose level in select foods based on 200 calorie serving.

Carbonated beverage, cola,
Fructose: 29760mg

Carbonated beverage, lemon-lime soda,
Fructose: 28634mg

Applesauce, canned, unsweetened,
Fructose: 28007mg

Honey
Fructose: 26930mg

Pears, canned, water pack, solids and liquids
Fructose: 26896mg

Agave, cooked (Southwest)
Fructose: 26028mg

Juice, apple and grape blend,
Fructose: 25837mg

Apples, raw, without skin
Fructose: 25125mg

Agave, dried (Southwest)
Fructose: 25116mg

Apple juice, canned or bottled, unsweetened,
Fructose: 24916mg

Apple juice, canned or bottled, unsweetened,
Fructose: 24916mg

Grape juice, canned or bottled, unsweetened,
Fructose: 24527mg

Salad dressing, italian dressing, fat-free
Fructose: 23790mg

Pomegranate juice, bottled
Fructose: 23592mg

Grapes, red or green, raw
Fructose: 23561mg

Pears, canned, juice pack, solids and liquids
Fructose: 23201mg

Dates, medjool
Fructose: 23074mg

Apples, raw, with skin
Fructose: 22692mg

Juice, apple, grape and pear blend,
Fructose: 22656mg

Watermelon, raw
Fructose: 22396mg

Babyfood, fruit,
Fructose: 22174mg

Babyfood, fruit and vegetable,
Fructose: 22067mg

Mango nectar, canned
Fructose: 21799mg

Carbonated beverage, ginger ale
Fructose: 21771mg

Pineapple, canned, juice pack, solids and liquids
Fructose: 21667mg

McDONALD'S, Honey
Fructose: 21590mg

Pears, raw
Fructose: 21486mg

Pears, canned, juice pack, drained
Fructose: 21171mg

McDONALD'S, Apple Dippers
Fructose: 20834mg

Guanabana nectar, canned
Fructose: 20136mg

Sports drink, COCA-COLA, POWERADE, lemon-lime flavored,
Fructose: 20124mg

Raisins, seedless
Fructose: 19854mg

Melon, banana (Navajo)
Fructose: 19613mg

Guava nectar, canned
Fructose: 19544mg

Pickles, cucumber, sweet (includes bread and butter pickles)
Fructose: 19362mg

Blueberries, canned, light syrup, drained
Fructose: 19158mg

Catsup [Ketchup]
Fructose: 19152mg

Tomato juice, canned,
Fructose: 18118mg

Vinegar, balsamic
Fructose: 16773mg

Melons, honeydew, raw
Fructose: 16447mg

Carrots, raw
Fructose: 2683mg

McDONALD'S, Hamburger
Fructose: 2325mg


Compare to:

Sweet Potatoes, cooked
Fructose: 1250mg

Maple Syrup
Fructose: 352mg

Avocados, raw, California
Fructose: 96mg

Egg, whole, cooked, scrambled
Fructose: 96mg

Nuts, pecans
Fructose: 12mg

Stevia
Fructose: 0 mg


What do I recommend in addition to eliminating high fructose corn syrup (soda and many processed foods), fruit juice, canned fruit and other sources of excess fructose?

Stevia as your primary source of sweetener.

Milk Thistle, ALA and Curcumin to support the liver.

Pantethine to lower elevated triglycerides and VLDL.