I guess you all heard about simple carbs and complex carbs. But what is all this noise about glucose and fructose and not very-well known sucrose? Where can you find them? Are they dangerous to human body? Should you avoid them, or at least limit them?
In this article we will go through these questions and hopefully, shed some light on the issue.
The first fact about these types of sugars is that you can think of sucrose as the parent of the latter two, since sucrose is made of glucose and fructose. They have the same amount of calories (gram for gram) and they can be all found in natural products, such as vegetables, dairy products, fruits and other foods.
Sucrose is Made of Glucose and Fructose
So, sucrose, is also known as table sugar. Various sugars different in the concept of digestion and their molecular structure. That’s why sugars are categorized into monosaccharides and disaccharides.
Monosaccharides are made of a single sugar, so they cannot be broken or separated. They are the base blocks of carbohydrates.
As the name suggest, disaccharides are more complex and take more time to digest. Sucrose (disaccharide) is made of two molecules, one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule.
Fructose is a monosaccharide and is natural found in fruits, certain vegetables and honey. In comparison to glucose and sucrose, it has the smallest impact on blood sugar.
When we eat fructose, it is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. We mentioned that it has a smaller impact on the blood sugar. This is true, but only from the start.
It does not raise the blood sugar as fast and intensely as glucose, but in the long run, it has more negatives, because fructose cannot be used for energy on its own, it has to be converted to glucose with the help of your liver.
As you can probably guess, if your liver can’t keep up with the fructose you are absorbing, it will be turned into triglycerides and cholesterol, which can lead to heart problems and obesity.
Just as with fructose, glucose is a monosaccharide as well. Unlike fructose, glucose is rarely found in foods on its own, as it usually forms a polysaccharide or disaccharide with another simple sugar.
Glucose enters your bloodstream directly through the small intestine, and with the help of insulin, glucose can move to your cells. It’s the fastest way to increase your blood sugar, which encourages the release of insulin.
Once glucose enters your cells, depending on your current state, it will be either used as energy, or if not immediately needed, it will be stored in your body (liver and muscles) in the form of glycogen.
Summary – Glucose vs. Fructose
In the fight of Glucose vs. Fructose, due to its long-term used, fructose can be actually more dangerous to your health than glucose. But it all depends on your lifestyle and diet.
But, nature itself seems to have the upper hand once again, because in every natural food when the fructose is contained, it also contains water and fiber and other nutrients, which will effectively negate these negative effects.
There is still much to learn from nature.