What is fructose?
Eating fruits is healthy, everybody knows that. They nourish us with vitamins and boost our immune system.
The saying “same same but different” is a perfect match for the sugar and fructose situation. It is both the same, but there are some differences in structure and the overall impact on the body.
Sucrose (table sugar) is a disaccharide, that means it is consists of one part glucose and one part fructose.
Our body can digest glucose anywhere whereas the fructose can only be digested in the liver. And there we have the problem … when too much fructose is transported to the liver it gets overwhelmed fast and can´t digest the whole amount. As a result, the sugar gets stored as fat.
Now you might think eating fruits makes you fat. Well, that´s not the case, learn why …
They are loaded with a lot of nutrients which support your overall health and wellbeing. We talk about vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, and antioxidants.
Here I want to point out fiber because it has a special role when it comes to the digestion of fructose. The benefits of fiber are reducing cholesterol levels, increasing satiety and slowing down digestion.
And that´s the key, why you won´t get fat from eating fruit!
The fiber slows down the transportation to the liver so it won´t be overloaded with fructose and has enough time to handle and digest the arriving fructose. Fructose gets only stored as fat when the liver can´t handle the amount of fructose.
Here´s a little pro tip: if you want to get the most health benefits out of your fruits, then look for the fruits with the highest amount of fiber (also vitamins and minerals) in comparison to the sugar amount.
The one part that is underestimated often is that fruit is highly fulfilling and satisfying. That´s based on the content of fiber, water, and the careful chewing. If you take your time and chew your food right then it also takes time until the food reaches your digestion system. The liver won´t be flooded with sugar at one point.
Here´s an example: when you drink a can of coca cola you consume 35 gr. of sugar (the recommended daily intake is 50 gr.) in a few seconds. When you eat an apple, that takes some minutes because you are chewing it before you swallow it. This way the sugar gets in our system in maybe 5 minutes compared to the 5 seconds it takes to empty a coca cola. There is no fiber and chewing resistance to slow down the consumption, so it´s made easy to consume a large amount of sugar in a short time.
Smoothies make you fat!
You have seen the many benefits of fruits and as a logical conclusion, you might think smoothies bring the same benefits. That´s not the case! Even if you blend up the whole fruits, a very important benefit gets lost. The fiber will be destroyed in the mixing process and there goes the ability of a slowed down digestion. The whole amount of fructose will get to the liver at once and not be slowed down from fiber like with eating and chewing a fruit.
On the other hand drinking, a smoothy is still better than drinking a fruit juice. Most of the fruit juices are not even true fruit juices. Most of the time they are a mixture of water, some concentrate and a lot of added sugar. Check out the nutrition label next time you buy a fruit juice, you might not find one single fruit in your juice.