Glucose Vs. Fructose, Which Sugar is Healthier for the Body?

Every day you cannot get away from consuming sugar. The reason is, almost all the food or drink you consume contains sugar in a certain amount. However, not all sweetness comes from just one type of sugar, you know. Even though your tongue can't tell the difference, your body can differentiate and respond differently. Glucose and fructose are two types of simple sugars with different benefits and reactions in the body. So, what are the other differences? Come on, find out the answer in the following review.

The difference between glucose and fructose

Simple carbohydrates are categorized as monosaccharides and disaccharides. Monosaccharides are the most basic type of simple carbohydrates and consist of only one sugar unit. Well, glucose and fructose are included in monosaccharides. Even though they belong to the same type, glucose and fructose have several basic differences, including the following:

1. Process in the body

Glucose is the most important and preferred monosaccharide by the body. Glucose is also called blood sugar because once it enters the body, the sugar content from food will be carried by the blood. This blood sugar is related to the glucokinase or hexokinase enzymes during the body's metabolic processes.

When you eat carbohydrate foods, your body processes them into simple sugars in the form of glucose. This glucose can be used immediately as energy or stored in muscle or liver cells as glycogen for further use.

Under normal circumstances, the pancreas produces insulin which functions to transport blood sugar to the body's cells. When there is too much sugar in the blood, insulin will transport blood sugar into the cells so that blood sugar levels remain stable.

Meanwhile, fructose differs from other types of sugar in that it has a different metabolic pathway. This fructose is not the preferred source of energy for muscles and brain. This is because fructose is only metabolized in the liver by the enzyme fructokinase and is lipogenic, which is to produce fat for the body.

2. Food sources

Most foods basically contain glucose, fructose, or even both. These two types of sugar are both the main source of energy for the body, which can be found naturally in fresh fruits and vegetables.

The whole grains contain more glucose than fructose. Examples are bread, snacks such as chips and crackers, instant oatmeal, cereals, granola and pasta.

Meanwhile, fructose is better known as fruit sugar because it is found in many fruits. Fructose has a sweeter taste than other types of sugar. Other natural sources of fructose are found in honey and vegetables, too commonly added to sodas and fruit flavored drinks.

3. Fructose increases body fat

The advantage of glucose is that it does not increase triglycerides or fats in the blood. Conversely, fructose is lipogenic or produces more fat.

When you eat carbohydrate foods, fructose will not stimulate insulin production like glucose. That is why the fructose that enters the body cannot control your blood sugar levels. This is a concern because fructose adds more fat intake than other carbohydrates.

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2013, levels of fructose in the body can trigger metabolic syndrome, a medical condition that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The reason is, fructose can increase blood lipids in adult humans in just two weeks, while glucose-sweetened drinks do not.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2013 states that fructose can increase uric acid in the blood. Meanwhile, in another study published in the Annals of New York Academy of Sciences in 2011 stated that fructose can increase abnormal blood lipids and insulin resistance.

Although glucose is healthier overall than fructose, you still need to limit your daily sugar intake from foods high in sugar. It is intended that you avoid various health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia recommends limiting sugar consumption, namely 50 grams or the equivalent of 5-9 teaspoons per day.

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