This week I am posting about fructose. One component of the dietary changes I recommend to fertility clients is consuming less sugar. Many of us understand sugar is a dietary no no, but few of us realize how powerfully negative it can be in our bodies. Fertility books recommend women to completely remove soda from their diets, yet finding out the reasoning behind it is unclear. One study found a clear link between infertility and the consumption of soda. The incidents of infertility increases as women consume more soda. Thus a woman who drinks 1 soda a day will have more infertility issues than a non consumer. A woman who drinks 2 to 4 sodas a day will have more infertility issues than the women who drink 1 soda a day. Yet, the study has no theory why the link exists. Could it be the sugar or more specifically fructose?

What is fructose?

Fructose is a special crystalline sugar that is super sweet. Sucrose and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) both contain fructose. White sugar is just as bad as HFCS. Raw cane sugar is just as bad as white sugar.

There is no difference between HFCS and sucrose. Both are equally bad, since they both contain the molecule fructose. Fructose (if seen on a list of ingredients) is purely fructose and produced in a lab.

Why is fructose, sucrose, sugar or HFCS bad?

They contain a molecule called fructose. Fructose does not suppress our appetites or promote insulin secretion. More importantly it is completely metabolized in the liver leading to byproducts such as direct fat storage (in liver and general weight gain), high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These health issues have a profound effect on reproductive health. Plus we are not even aware of all the hidden components at this point.

All sugars are not created equally. Fruit has sugar, but also contains fiber, which reduces the rate of absorption thus reducing the insulin response. It increases the speed of intestinal contents to tell the brain to stop eating and reduces hunger. The bigger problem is coming from all the processed foods in our lives, which contain no or little fiber.

If you have an hour and half, play the following link. It’s a wonderful explanation of how sugar is metabolized in the body. Dr. Lustig is an entertaining lecturer who discusses the reality behind the consumption of sugar in the modern diet. Everyday products contain HFCS and most women are not even aware of it. He indicates that most breads contain sugar and especially HFCS. Have you looked at what’s contained in most yogurts – HFCS! Take a moment and look at the list of ingredients. Yes, even dried fruit can contain HFCS. Not so healthy.

Don’t get me wrong. Sugar is not evil. Its power is reliant on how much of our diet is focused on sugary products or the hidden sugars in “healthy products”. Everything in moderation. Unfortunately, most women are not aware of the issue.

In the end, the metabolic issues caused by sugar – even on a minimal level are powerful, such as:
An over burdened liver cannot detoxifies hormones out of the blood
Unstable insulin levels can promote poor follicular growth
Minimal fat gain can allow hormonal storage.

Sugar degrades the fabric of our health – by moderating sugar consumption our overall health and fertility can improve.

Interested in Dr Lustig’s lecture? Here’s the link:

So here’s a very brief rundown of Dr L discussion:
Sucrose is cane or white sugar. Sweet index of 100. Contains one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose.

HFCS derived from corn. Sweet index of 120.

You would think that you would use less of hfcs than sucrose as it’s sweeter..but they are not. The same amount of hfcs is going into products as when sugar was used even though hfcs is sweeter.

HFCS is 55% fructose.
Sucrose is 50% fructose.

We are not eating more, but eating more sugar.

Fructose is not glucose.
Fructose does not suppress ghrelin
Acute fructose does not simulate insulin or leptin.

Hepatic fructose metabolism is different
Chronic fructose exposure promotes metabolic syndrome

Soda like coke contains sugar, salt and caffeine. Caffeine is a mild diuretic makes you pee free water. Salt will make you thirsty. The sugar covers up the salt. The coke makes you thirsty to drink more.

Carbohydrates raise cholesterol. To make low fat products taste good, they add sugar. Fructose is mostly added for palatability (especially in low fat products) and as a browning agent.

Fiber can help us properly digest sugar. It’s mostly removed in products to decrease cooking time and increase shelf life. In fruits they contain fiber to balance out the sugar.

Sucrose and HFCS are the same. Both bad.

Fructose is not glucose. Fructose is 7 times more likely than glucose to form Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE’s). It does not suppress ghrelin. Does not stimulate insulin or leptin. Metabolized in the liver. Chronic exposure promotes metabolic syndrome.

Glycogen is the stored form of glucose. Glycogen is non toxic.

Citrate byproduct from the creb cycle. De nova lipase genesis. Sugars get made into fat called vldl which is bad and causes heart disease and obesity.

Ethanol is a carbohydrate. It is a toxin. The only difference with ethanol and fructose is that ethanol affects the brain. It is an acute toxin. Fructose is long term toxin.

Ethanol produces more citrate in the liver as it is broken down. Though both fructose and ethanol activates junk 1 – which damages the liver.

Sucrose – all the fructose contained in sucrose will be metabolized in the liver. Why? Because it’s the only place that can metabolize fructose and generates all sorts of problems. Fructose does not activate insulin. During the process of metabolizing uric acid is produced. The uric acid goes in the blood and can cause gout or more commonly HYPERTENSION. Sugar fluids will cause hypertension. Allopurinol is a drug to treat gout but studies have found that it lowers hypertension in adults. One of the byproducts of fructose cause the activation of lipase storage mechanisms – thus weight gain. Up to 30% of the calories of fructose will end up as fat. You are not only consuming a carbohydrate, but consuming fat. High sugar diet is a high fat diet. Some of this fat will not enter the blood stream (ie high cholesterol) but stays in the liver. Junk 1 will cause insulin receptors to be inactive in the liver. On top of this, you don’t know you are full.

What can you do?
Get rid of sugared liquids – only water and milk.
Eat your carbohydrate with fiber
Wait 20 minutes for a second portion.
Buy your screen time minute for minute with physical activity.

Why is exercise important?
Not because it burns calories – ie the idea of calories in and out.
Because it improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity.
Because it reduces stress, and resultant cortisol release
Because it makes the TCA cycle run faster and detoxifies fructose, improving hepatic insulin sensitivity. Burn off the byproducts before it can be made into fat.