"It is a mess when it is in excess!" Excess of anything impacts life greatly. During 1970s the HFCS or high fructose corn syrup was introduced into the United States food supply. Since then there has been a surprising raise in fructose consumption seen all over. Fructose though in natural form present in the fruits, vegetables etc are good for health; the fructose present in HFCS are extremely harmful which can lead to various heart diseases along with many other ill health conditions. In this current article we will talk about the adverse effects caused to the heart health with an excessive intake of fructose in regular diet. We will look at the difference between the natural fructose and the fructose in HFCS and then go for our concerned topic systematically.
A General Overview On Fructose: The Bad of Sugar!
Fructose is also called as the fruit sugar and is present in sucrose along with the glucose. Sucrose is the refined sugar which is made of one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose. Fructose is considered as the problematic molecule in sucrose, while glucose can be helpful as they are used as fuel or energy by our body cells. Fructose is absorbed in the small intestine and through the portal vein is transferred to the liver. In the liver it metabolizes and breaks down to glucose for producing energy. It must be remembered that fructose only breaks down to glucose for energy in the liver. Fructose in abundance can lead to various heart issues along with diseases like Alzheimer's, fatty liver disease, diabetes etc. Though fructose from the refined sugar form, i.e. sucrose constitute half of the proportion and other half makes the glucose; in case of the HFCS the proportion is 55% of fructose and 45% glucose. This is why fructose in HFCS is considered more dangerous than the fructose in its natural form. In the following paragraphs of the article we will know about the adverse effects of excessive fructose in our body.
Natural fructose is the fructose present in the natural diets like in case of the fruits. Here fructose is present in a combined form where the fructose molecule is bound with the glucose molecule, as in case of the sucrose. Thus the entry of fructose into blood lowers down because the sucrose molecule first needs to split in the intestinal cells. Thus it becomes a safer fructose as compared to the fructose in HFCS.
Fructose in HFCS:
HFCS or the High fructose corn syrup comprises of the fructose in a free state, unlike the combined state with glucose as in case of natural fructose in fruits. This is why fructose molecules get absorbed in the blood rapidly. It is known that the fructose content in HFCS is higher than the glucose. About 55% of fructose is present when compared to the 45% of glucose in HFCS. Due to this high fructose content in HFCS, the enzymes present in liver which are responsible for breaking down of fructose get overwhelmed and thus allow a large amount of fructose molecule into the blood. This causes various adverse effects in our body which we will be studying in the later part of the article.
Studies Mentioning The Link Between High Fructose In Sugar And Heart Diseases:
Here are some of the studies that depict how abundance in fructose causes harm to the heart.
- In the most recent times, there was a study published in the JAMA or the Journal of the American Medical Association which concluded that majority of the adults in the United States consume an excess of added sugar than it is recommended for a healthy diet. They also concluded that there is a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and enhanced risk of mortality due to cardiovascular diseases. This was a 15 years of long research study including the data from 31,000 Americans who consumed 25% or more of their daily calories as added sugar and it found that they were more than twice as likely as to die from heart diseases as those people who consume less than 10% of the calories from added sugar.
- Another study in 2014 showed the similar kind of results where it was found that people who consumed more than 25% of their daily calories from sugar were twice as likely to die from heart diseases than those people consuming about 7% calories from sugar in their regular consumption.
Effects of Excess Fructose on Heart Health:
Now here comes our concerned topic where we are going to list the adverse effects of excessive fructose to the heart.
- It is known from various studies that high consumption of fructose from the added sugar on daily diet results in the risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to contribute to the risk of heart attack, heart strokes, heart failure etc along with other diseases like diabetes, kidney diseases etc.
- Higher fructose intake is known to affect the school aged children by growing the future risk of heart diseases by lowering the lipoprotein(LDL) particle size in the body.
- Apart from growing the blood pressure level; abundant fructose consumption increases the amount of triglycerides, enhances the harmful LDL or the adverse cholesterol, building up of visceral fats, and increases the production of free radicals which promotes the damage of DNA and cells. These all factors contribute to adverse effects on the heart.
- High fructose intake also leads to fatty liver diseases which results in the growth of high cholesterol-filled plaques in the arteries of the patient affected. This is further known to cause various cardiovascular diseases and death due to it.
- Fructose intake in high amount also results in diabetes which further leads to various cardiac issues.
Other Harmful Effects of Excessive Fructose on Health and Body Organs:
- Excessive fructose causes liver diseases and leads to insulin resistance in the liver.
- High fructose intake can lead to excessive production of uric acid and which further can lead to kidney stones, gout etc
- Various diseases like diabetes, condition like obesity etc are caused with high fructose diets.
- Excessive fructose also impacts brain functioning and known to cause memory loss in rats. Alzheimer's diseases are known to be linked with high fructose levels in humans
- Fructose can aggravate cancer as the cancer cells proliferate with the presence of excessive fructose.
Now that we are known to the harmful effects of high fructose to heart and the overall health; it is every wise man's act to avoid excessive intake of fructose or the HFCS. "Life has no limitations except those you make." There are certain things which are necessary to limit so as to make self available for life in abundance. Limiting fructose, limiting the added sugar in diet can save you from falling sick and limiting by your health in life.