Over the last 10–15 years, there has been much discussion about the role that fructose plays in our chronic health issues, including obesity, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and many more.

However, most of these discussions are publicity and some exaggeration.

Listed below are five truths you should know about fructose and if it is bad for your body.

1) What is FRUCTOSE?

Fructose is a sugar found in the fruit and gives it its sweetness. It is also a type of sugar that we see in our table sugar (sucrose) and is one of the leading industrial sweeteners in the form of high fructose corn syrup(HFCS).

2) What does your body do with FRUCTOSE?

The question is one of the most important “hot topics” around fructose, and misinformation has spread about what happens to fructose when you consume it. For example, how many people have heard the following: Fructose gets converted into fat in your liver? I think most of us have heard this. However, the truth of what happens to fructose is very different.

Your liver is actually the primary organ that handles fructose, and almost all the fructose you consume passes through your liver. But it doesn’t really turn to fat; Instead, what happens in your body when you consume fructose is the actual breakdown of it.

  • Roughly 45% of it is immediately “burned” as fuel and turns into ATP and carbon dioxide.
  • ~ 30% of it is converted into glucose and then metabolized.
  • ~ 25% of it is converted into the liver and sent out of the liver.
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  • <1% is converted to fat, glycerol, or glycogen.

These statistics tell us that fructose does not actually “turn into fat” in your liver; Instead, it is mostly used for fuel or converted to glucose or lactate.

3) How many doses of Fructose can cause problems?

One of the most interesting aspects of the science around fructose is that there is a lot of research that shows what “supplements” can cause health issues. One study found that consuming 255 grams of fructose per day increased liver fat and reduced insulin sensitivity. It has also shown the same result. If you consume 255 grams of glucose directly, it suggests that it may not be just fructose that is the issue. This study also showed that if you consumed 128 grams of fructose, there was no increase in liver fat or a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

These studies were not merely to show that fructose requires high doses to cause issues. A systematic review found that people should be at 95 percent percent of their intake for fructose to cause metabolic problems. A meta-analysis found that individuals had to consume 100 grams of fructose per day to see adverse effects on body fat or metabolic markers.

Summing it up, it appears that for most of us, fructose intake between 0 and ~ 80–90 grams per day does not convey a substantial health risk.

4) How much can we consume Fructose?

If you look at the US population figures, the average American consumes about 55 grams of fructose per day. This data is about 60% of the “problematic” dose. This suggests that fructose intake in isolation is not a good way to determine the potential risks of fructose on our health.

If you are coaching nutrition clients, make sure that your clients are carrying fructose. Maybe they realize this.

5) How can we think about Fructose in our health?

There are two fairly obvious data points that look at obstacles in the scientific literature.

First of all, we know that proper intake of fructose does not cause health problems.

Second, some observational data suggest that high fructose intake is associated with metabolic syndrome, obesity, and liver disease.

So how do we cross these two ideas? Well, the main reason is that unhealthy behavior appears to be clustered. For example, people who consume high amounts of fructose are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, carry a higher BMI, and become physically active. So it may be that high fructose intake is generally related to unhealthy lifestyle patterns. We see this in most studies, in which the highest fructose intake is not from high fruit intake, but from sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed foods.


Based on most evidence, it appears that moderate fructose intake (~ 0–80 g per day) does not pose a substantial health risk. However, generally, as fructose intake is high, it is associated with increased intake of fructose from processed, energy-dense food, not fruit. It is also associated with other unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and reduced physical activity.

We should look at fructose in the context it is being consumed and how it fits into a person’s lifestyle. If one is getting 30-50 grams per day from apples, watermelon, blueberry, etc., then there is no real reason to be worried about its consumption. If they are getting 30–50 grams a day from soda, other sugar-sweetened beverages, and other processed foods, it is worth discussing less about the context of their dietary choices and the actual fructose content of those foods. It is possible.


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