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Is Fructose Single-Handedly Making People Fat?

In an attempt to explain the obesity epidemic in the world, fingers have recently been pointing to fructose – the sweetener found naturally in fruit and honey and as a component of high-fructose corn syrup used in sweetened foods and beverages.

Some research has suggested that fructose may stimulate a hormonal response in the body that promotes weight gain, while other studies have hypothesized that fructose, vs. other forms of sugar, may trick you into thinking you are hungrier than you should be. But is fructose the real culprit? Many experts don’t think so.

John S. White, PhD, a researcher specializing in nutritive sweeteners, finds the information unfounded. “I don’t believe that limiting any single food ingredient would be at all effective. Obesity is caused by a host of environmental, psychological, and physiological factors. All macronutrient food ingredients — fats, carbohydrates, and proteins — will contribute to weight gain when consumed to excess. … That may not be a trendy position, but it is one that is consistent with rational science.”

White’s colleagues agree. The expert view is that fructose may only be one ingredient causing people to gain weight, but other factors should be looked at, and overall calorie intake is likely high in obese people. Limit your consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages and snack foods just as you would any simple carb. Get your carbs from whole grains and veggies instead. They suggest reading labels carefully and when you need a sweet, try to choose fruit over artificial candy and beverages.

The fact of the matter here is that added sugars, in any form, can be a significant factor in obesity. The moral of the story: don’t give fructose a bad rap – everything in moderation – you could gain weight by eating too much of any food.

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