Confused by the image of fruits, fruit juices and a stethoscope on a site that focuses solely on LCHF Diet, in different shades, to effectively manage diabetes? As an Indian who is active on social media, I can say with confidence that many of you may have received numerous WhatsApp forwards, or stumbled upon Facebook alerts on ‘Fructose Diet to Cure Diabetes’.
The social media boom has increased the gullibility of an average individual. When it comes to physical health issues, and more specifically Diabetes, people are often willing to bet on a losing horse, as long as it comes attached with the magical word “CURE”. Am I a proponent of the Fructose Diet For Diabetes Cure myself? Continue reading to find out.
What, Where & How Much Of Fructose
Fructose is a simple sugar found in honey, fruits, table sugar (sucrose), and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It is a simple ketonic monosaccharide found in many plants, where it is often bonded to glucose to form the disaccharide Sucrose. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with Glucose and Galactose, that are absorbed directly into blood during digestion.
Since the dawn of the 20th century, the total fructose consumption has roughly quadrupled, leading to a myriad of health issues. Fructose causes Metabolic Syndrome because of its unique metabolism that results in:
- Intra-cellular ATP depletion
- Uric acid generation
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Oxidative stress, and
- de novo lipogenesis (DNL).
The problem with fructose is that it never comes alone in nature – it is always bound with glucose – so it’s a double whammy for the liver. So, we come to the million dollar question for a diabetic: “What is the maximum permissible consumption of fructose for a diabetic?”
A growing body of research suggests that excessive intake of fructose (e.g., >50 g/day) may be linked to development of the metabolic syndrome (obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, proinflammatory state, prothrombosis). The rapid metabolism of fructose in the liver and resultant drop in hepatic adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels have been linked with mitochondrial and endothelial dysfunction, alterations that could predispose to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Obviously, diabetics should be restricting their fructose (limited mostly to a few selected fruits) intake even more aggressively, as their metabolism is already compromised. Refer the spreadsheet data on the forum for macro-nutrients and even fructose content for many fruits. We have specified which fruits are on the ‘no-no list’ in general in the spreadsheet, and the quantity is controlled by the basic premise of LCHF diet that we follow.
Surely we would never even consider suggesting eating 1 Kg Mango or Banana daily to a diabetic, unlike a few sellers of Fructose Diet To Cure Diabetes.
Some even sell the idea of Fructose Diet To Cure Diabetes with a stethoscope around their neck, despite not being a medical professional. Stethoscopes are associated with doctors but you don’t need a medical license to buy one and this is how people get scammed into trying unhealthy diets.
Fructose & Liver
Ingested carbohydrates are a major stimulus for hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL), and are more likely to directly contribute to NAFLD. While every cell in the body can use glucose, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver.
According to Dr. Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, fructose is a “chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin.” And just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat – not cellular energy, like glucose.
Dr. Lustig explained the three similarities between fructose and its fermentation byproduct, ethanol (alcohol):
- Your liver’s metabolism of fructose is similar to alcohol, as they both serve as substrates for converting dietary carbohydrate into fat, which promotes insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (abnormal fat levels in the bloodstream), and fatty liver.
- Fructose undergoes the Maillard reaction with proteins, leading to the formation of superoxide free radicals that can result in liver inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol.
- By “stimulating the ‘hedonic pathway’ of the brain both directly and indirectly,” Dr. Lustig noted, “fructose creates habituation, and possibly dependence; also paralleling ethanol”.
According to Dr Richard Johnson, head of Nephrology at the University of Colorado:
“When you give fructose to animals, they lose their ability to control their appetite, they eat more, and they exercise less. Fructose looks like it’s playing a direct role in weight gain”.
Losing the ability to control appetite is what “Leptin Resistance” does, which then spirals into obesity, liver ageing and a host of other problems, clubbed into a group called “Metabolic Syndrome”.
The Liver does not and cannot distinguish whether fructose is from fruits or candy. It just has to clear it.
Fructose & Blood Sugar
Fructose is metabolized by the liver into FAT. So the fructose part of the fruit sugar will not impact blood glucose, but it will surely stress the liver. Also, by mixing fructose and glucose to demonstrate how fructose lowers blood glucose is nothing but a scam.
Everyone knows that blood home testing gluco meters do not measure fructose. And, if you dilute a solution of glucose with fructose, obviously the concentration of glucose will be lower. So, beware of someone using this technique to convince how good fructose is. They are snake oil sellers.
The Fructose Sales Pitch
- Fructose does not raise blood sugar. Some self-proclaimed experts even perform onstage shows demonstrating how blood sugar drops by mixing fructose with sugar.
However, they never tell you the damage fructose causes to the liver and health in general.
- Fruits are natural so they are good.
Honestly, the liver does not have a brain or eye of its own. It cannot differentiate between fructose that comes from fruits and one that comes from candy.
- Loaded with fiber and many vitamins and minerals.
Well, for a diabetic, there are far better sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber than fruits.
- Sugar is natural because it is made from sugarcane.
This is really absurdity at it’s best, negligence at worst.
Is Diabetes Curable?
Short answer – NO. At least not for now, and anyone claiming to CURE Diabetes is a snake oil salesman.
Connecting The Dots
- Fructose is definitely not good for a diabetic. Even a non-diabetic who lives a sedentary life should cut back on the consumption of fructose. Dr Mercola puts the restriction at 15 gm/day max. of fruit sugars for diabetics – The lower the better.
- Fructose in nature does not come alone, it always comes combined with glucose. So, it’s a double whammy for the liver.
- The liver cannot differentiate between sources of fructose. So, discard the MYTH of natural being good.
- If suffering from Fatty Liver, Uric Acid problems, or Dyslipidemia, all sources of fructose should be off limits.
- Fructose is processed by the liver like alcohol.
- Fructose undergoes the Maillard reaction with proteins, resulting in free radical damage similar to acetaldehyde.
- Diabetes is not curable. Anyone claiming to cure diabetes, especially through a Fructose Diet, is a fraudster.
- Don’t blindly believe everyone who claims to have published papers in journals. There are many journals which publish in return for a fee. Fee is what matters to them and not the content.
Should I Try This Diet?
No prizes for guessing, the answer is a big, fat NO. Vegans are often the proponents of this diet and even go as far as claiming that Fasting Blood Sugar of even 150 to 160 is fine, which is most certainly not true.
All claims of curing diabetes are scams that you shouldn’t waste time on.
- The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick
- Dr Garry Fettke – Is Fruit Good or Bad For you?