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Fructose, the type of sugar found in fruits, honey and some vegetables, has been found to be a healthier option compared to everyday "table sugars" such as sucrose and glucose, according to Australian researchers.
In a study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the University of Canberra discovered that blood glucose levels and insulin levels were found to be lower after test subjects consumed fructose compared to other sugars.
Speaking to Xinhua on Thursday, co-author Dr Kerry Mills said fructose must be processed by ones liver before it contributes to blood sugar levels, meaning the risk of developing diabetes is lower compared to when someone consumes sugar in other forms.
Fructose has a different chemical structure to other sugars like glucose and sucrose, so what has to happen is that fructose needs to be converted into glucose before it can enter the bloodstream, she said.
That takes time, so thats why the release of sugar from fructose into the blood is much slower and doesnt cause the sudden spike in blood sugar levels like when you consume sucrose of glucose.
In a statement released accompanying the study, Mills said a spike in blood sugar levels was a major risk factor for diabetes.
Because the conversion (of fructose) takes time, its impossible for the body to receive the near-instant sugar hit we get from sucrose or glucose. This reduces blood glucose levels, which is particularly important for people with diabetes, who must monitor and control these levels," she said.
Our study of long-term effects of swapping types of sugar also found a reduction in blood glucose levels, although the difference wasnt as dramatic over time.
While the study seems to have uncovered the healthier option in terms of sugar intake, Mills stressed that fructose should not be championed as a health food of sorts.
High sugar intakes can lead to health problems and everyone should be trying to cut out sweet treats. But if sugar consumption cant be avoided, it is probably better to choose products with fructose over other types of sugar, she said.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)