Limiting fructose intake likely to boost weight loss

July 25th, 2008 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 25 (IANS) One way of losing weight is to cut down on intake of fructose, a type of sugar quickly synthesised into body fat, according to a study. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Tennessee and co-author of the study, said her team’s findings suggest that the right type of carbohydrates in one’s diet may be just as important in weight control as number of calories.

“Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose,” Parks said. Fructose, glucose and sucrose, which is a mixture of fructose and glucose, are all forms of sugar but are metabolised differently.

“All three can be made into triglycerides, a form of body fat; however, once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it’s hard to slow it down,” she said.

In humans, triglycerides are predominantly formed in the liver, which acts like a traffic cop to coordinate the use of dietary sugars. It is the liver’s job, when it encounters glucose, to decide whether the body needs to store the glucose as glycogen, burn it for energy or turn the glucose into triglycerides. When there’s a lot of glucose to process, it is put aside to process later.

Fructose, on the other hand, enters this metabolic pathway downstream, bypassing the traffic cop and flooding the metabolic pathway.

“It’s a less-controlled movement of fructose through these pathways that causes it to contribute to greater triglyceride synthesis,” Parks said. “The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body.”

Though fructose, a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, is naturally found in high levels in fruit, it is also added to many processed foods.

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