13 November 2009

But what about fructose??

Here's how it usually goes:

"Oh. So you don't eat carbs."

No. I eat plenty. I am not a "carbophobe."

"Ok. So you eat fruit. What makes the sugar in fruit so different from others?"

Well, this one takes a little more explanation...

The word carbohydrate is the scientific term for sugar. Sugars come in various shapes and sizes. There's the small monosaccharides (like glucose and fructose), the medium sized disaccharides (like lactose and sucrose), and the really big chains of these smaller sugars that compose polysaccharides.
Fruit sugars are predominately fructose. In the end, the body converts all of this sugar to the most basic and efficient form, which is glucose. Take a look at this graph:

When glucose (in the form of sugar, flour, etc.) enters the body, it is immediately sent to the bloodstream to make it available for our cells to use. This is incredibly efficient, but this also causes insulin to surge (giving glucose a high glycemic index), which is something our body just isn't designed to handle. When fructose enters our body, it must be converted to glucose in the liver. The conversion process, along with the fiber in the fruit, slows the stream of glucose sent to the bloodstream making for a much more gentle and natural rise and fall of insulin (a low glycemic index).

Don't let me mislead you though. There is certainly glucose molecules in fruit and vegetables. After all, it is the primary source of energy that life needs to survive. It is the byproduct of photosynthesis in these plants. These fruits just aren't loaded with glucose. What is wheat flour? It is a pile of polysaccharides (read: large sugars) each composed of extremely long strands of glucose molecules. That's it. Straight glucose (and largely insignificant amounts of protein, oil, and fiber...).

Calorie for calorie, fruits also have an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that grains just can't match. Fruit was designed to be eaten. It is in the plant's best interest to be eaten so you will spread its seeds. I won't even begin to explain my thoughts of the lectins and antinutrients in grain products that are there to dissuade you from consuming them. (That was already done quite well for me here.) They do fine spreading their seeds by the wind, water, and unforunately the hand of the modern American farmer.


On a slightly different note, I am happy to report that I received a very personal response to my letter on healthcare reform and food subsidies from U.S. House Representative Virginia Foxx. I will keep you updated on any other responses that I get in the future. If you'd like to read the letter, and maybe send a few yourself, see my post here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I came across the article on you from Urban Climber, I am looking to get in better shape and I know my diet has a lot to do with it...I was wondering if you could email me some of your recipes, I dont cook with meat alot and am willing if i had some help!



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