Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.

-Dale Turner-

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sweet poison

One of the most misunderstood of all molecules is carbohydrates; sugars to simplify.  They are deceiving little buggers.  Sneaky sucrose hides in all our foods from pancake mixes, to stir fry sauces to canned fruit and cartoned juices.  Many know that sugar is bad but there is a difference right?  Only some sugar is bad surely not all?  I am here to burst your bubble.  Sugar isn't necessarily all bad but there is hardly any differentiation.  It all breaks down and is metabolised in virtually the same way and I'm going to tell you how.

So fructose... fruit sugar right?
YES it is essentially fruit sugar but there is not a huge amount in fruit.
Honey has a high fructose content and a lot of products have fructose added which has been extracted from other foods and fruits.

By weight, an apple has 10 grams of sugar and is 8% fructose.
But an apple is healthy right?
The sugar in this apple must therefore be good sugar?
This is the biggest of all misconceptions.
Fructose is like all the others, the only difference between eating an apple and eating that lolly you were eyeing off is that the apple is less energy dense and therefore has less calories but more substance than other foods may, it contains nutrients and fibre too and therefore more "friendly" macromolecule concentrations.  The sugar within though is still metabolised like maltose or glucose.  Being an apple does not make it any more special.

So here's what happens:
When you eat sugar your digestive enzymes and body cells say "hello sugar" and deal with it accordingly.  Above is a diagram of glycolosis - the process by which sugars are metabolised by cells.  Glucose enters glycolysis and undergoes two chemical reactions before fructose and maltose enter the cycle but essentially the end product from the uniform break down is all the same.  The only difference is that the glucose is transported primarily to the brain and the fructose is transported, filtered and stored by the liver as glycogen for later use.  The storage grows if the stash is not needed.

Fructose is perhaps more dangerous that we are aware as it seems to bipass the apetite control systems of the body that say "Enough sugar thanks".  Glucose is a readily available energy source and because it circulates more frequently and at higher concentrations, our body knows how to respond.

To be continued...


Post a Comment