Glucose-fructose syrup

Glucose-fructose syrup is becoming an increasingly popular addition to food, and more controversy is growing around it. Should we be afraid of him? 


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1. Glucose-fructose syrup – origin 

From time to time, what was sweet was considered good. From birth, we prefer a sweet taste that relieves tension and gives pleasure. These tastes for sweet taste are used by food producers. At the beginning, the sucrose obtained was added to the food from sugar beet or sugar cane. However, its use was expensive and inefficient. 

So we started looking for a cheaper alternative. In 1957, for the first time a process was described in which glucose-fructose syrup was obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of corn starch, in which the fructose content was 55%. Initially, it was obtained from potatoes, today the main substrate is corn starch. 

He gained fame in the seventies in the United States. It was cheap to produce, showed low viscosity and microbiological stability, and the liquid consistency ensured ease of use. It was therefore an ideal addition for the food industry. 

An additional advantage of glucose-fructose syrup was that fructose is much sweeter than sucrose, thanks to which the syrup could be more efficient. Unfortunately, syrup replaced sugar not only in sweets, but also began to be added to mayonnaise, ketchup, yogurt, cornflakes. 

2. Is glucose-fructose syrup harmful? 

Fructose is a sugar found mainly in fruits, it is much sweeter than sucrose. In nature, it occurs in combination with fiber, so that by consuming it, our body is protected from excess consumption and its negative effects. Unfortunately, the food industry has isolated fructose and in the form of glucose-fructose syrup it is added everywhere, which results in its consumption in excess. 

Glucose is a sugar essential for the functioning of every cell, it is stored partly as muscle and liver glycogen, partly converted to fat, and finally utilized for the body’s current needs. Its consumption is controlled by the nervous system, when there is too much for her hunger is inhibited. 

The process of fructose metabolism takes place differently. Fructose differs in chemical structure and glucose activity. Her transformation in the body is a different path. Large fructose consumption promotes the development of metabolic syndrome and overproduction of adipose tissue, which accumulates around internal organs. 

Fructose does not stimulate glucose and leptin as glucose, which sends a satiety signal to the brain, so it’s not difficult to overdose. In addition, it stimulates the sweet appetite. As a result of excessive consumption of fructose, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are produced. 

Due to its widespread presence in food products, its consumption increased significantly. The Americans calculated that in the years 1970-2010 the consumption of glucose-fructose syrup among American society increased from 1.36 to 13.02 kg per person. With the increase in consumption of the syrup, there was an increase in cases of type 2 diabetes, depression, ADHD, obesity, cardiovascular disease. 

3. Sugar and glucose-fructose syrup 

The range of products containing glucose-fructose syrup is wide. That is why it is important to make purchases, read labels and check what is the composition of the product chosen by us. If the product needs to be sweetened, it better contain sugar or glucose than glucose-fructose syrup. It may also be concealed under the name isoglucose, HFCS, and fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, the list of products in which it may occur is very long. 


You can read also: Sugar – yes or no?


Fructose is a poison (part 2/2)

Fructose, after getting into the liver, is quickly converted into glycogen. That is why sports drinks contain fructose and only in the case of athletes practicing endurance disciplines, it makes sense to use them – during enormous efforts, eg after running a marathon, glycogen stores in the liver are exhausted, and fructose allows them to quickly renew.

The problem is that this type of drinks is drunk by ordinary people who do not have to rebuild glycogen depletion, because they do not end up with exhaustion. This causes the fructose to undergo further transformation.

The first sports drinks, eg Gatorade) tasted terrible. In 1992, Gatorade became the property of Pepsi Co. The new owner, to increase the popularity and attractiveness of the drink, began to add glucose-fructose syrup to it – to make the drink tastier. This drink intended for athletes went to the hands of ordinary people – adults and children.

However, they do not need to renew their liver glycogen stores. So instead of glycogen stores, the fructose liver “produces \ fat and harmful vLDL. As much as 30% of the fructose we eat is turned into fat.

Fructose also raises triglycerides in the blood.

Research carried out on students who were fed a diet rich in fructose for 6 days showed a twofold increase in triglyceride levels and a fivefold increase in the amount of fat produced in the body.

The result of hepatic fructose metabolism is also the formation of free fatty acids that get into the muscles, causing insulin resistance.

The changes in fructose that occur in the liver contribute to an increased risk of developing non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Insulin resistance is of the greatest importance in its development. As a result, fat accumulates in the liver cells (steatosis develops). Then, as a result of subsequent biochemical processes (lipid peroxidation with the production of proinflammatory cytokines), hepatitis develops.

This is not the end of bad news, because the presence of fructose in the diet leads to the formation of substances that cause inflammation – as is the case when drinking alcohol. In addition, similar to muscle, the liver itself becomes insensitive to insulin. Therefore, the body must produce more of it, which raises blood pressure, promotes the formation of fatty tissue and makes the process of inhibiting hunger due to the action of leptin – the body is still hungry despite the meal or drink.

What are the effects of using an increased fructose diet? These include hypertension, heart disorder, pancreatitis, dyslipidemia (elevated blood fat, including triglycerides), overweight, liver damage, increased insulin resistance of the fetuses, habit bordering on addiction.

Do you remember the effects of alcohol abuse listed above? Compare.

Ethanol and fructose are metabolized in the same way!

A few words about physical activity

Do you know why you have to move to lose weight? Do you think it’s about burning calories? There are more important reasons. The movement increases the sensitivity of muscles to insulin, reduces the effects of stress, reduces cortisol (a hormone favoring weight gain), prevents the conversion of fructose into fat and increases the sensitivity of the liver to insulin. Thus, the movement blocks the mechanism that makes us fat.


Is fructose eaten with fruit harmful?

No. In nature, fructose is accompanied by a large amount of fiber, and the fructose content in relation to it is small. Eating fruit and vegetables we eat relatively little fructose, but a lot of fiber, which is one of the basic macronutrients and an indispensable element of a healthy diet.

Fiber reduces the absorption of carbohydrates from the gastrointestinal tract by lowering the amount of insulin appearing in the blood, it accelerates the appearance of a feeling of fullness, reduces the absorption of some free fatty acids, which again lowers the level of insulin.


Why are babies, children and adults a week?

In the composition of many types of milk (we are not talking about breast milk!) For babies is glucose-fructose syrup or corn syrup and / or sugar. In a portion of such milk can be as much sugar as in the same portion of cola …

The more a small child eats sweets, the more desire for sweets will be at a later age. The more sweets a pregnant woman eats, the more sweetness her child will have.

There is no difference between drinking a small can of beer and cans of cola. Both drinks contain poison in the form of ethanol or sugar and after drinking both of 150 kcal that they contain, about 90 goes to the liver (90 kcal for cola, 92 kcal for beer), and are metabolized in an identical, harmful to the body way . Will you allow your child to drink a can of beer? Of course not, because it contains poison. A can of cola (or other sweetened beverages) contains the same toxic substance – sugar.


Calorie is not equal to calories

As you can see from the above information, MA is the meaning of what calories you eat. Therefore, you can not only use a specific calorie diet to maintain a constant weight or lose weight. It is important what these calories come from. With 120 kcal of glucose only 1/2 kcal will be converted into fat. With every 120 kcal of fructose that we eat, up to 40 kcal (80 times more) will be converted into fat-damaging fat. That is why we emphasize once again the importance of not only how many calories we eat, but also what they come from.


In order to finally disgust you about the willingness of processed products containing fructose, we will add that the more people who want to lose weight eat it, the harder it will be and will, even after discontinuing fructose, achieve the goal.


Remember, you are not what you eat, but what your body will do with the food you eat. Fructose is a natural sugar, but in a non-fiber form, it is a poison. Sugar too. Poison that does not cause symptoms of poisoning after eating one of the bars, cakes or drinking one drink containing it. However, the effects of the liver’s metabolism of fructose are cumulative. Fructose (sugar) is a poison whose effects can be seen only after taking it with tens and hundreds of products. There is overweight, obesity, metabolic syndrome, liver and pancreatic disease, type II diabetes, heart disease. These effects appear after years of eating sweet food. This is what the Americans and us Poles do.


How to fight overweight and obesity according to Dr. Lustig?

Stop drinking sugared drinks. Replace them with water or milk.

Eat carbohydrates with fiber.

Wait 20 minutes before making the decision.

Save the same amount of time on the move as you sit in front of the TV


Fructose is a poison (part 1/2)

Why are we tying? Can a cola can and a beer can do the same? Why is not calorie equal to calories? Is weight loss related to calorie burning? Read the material written on the basis of a lecture by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, professor of pediatrics dealing with the treatment of obesity.


What causes weight gain?

Genetic factors and the environment. Our genes have not changed over the last 30 years, and it was at this time that there was an epidemic of obesity in the US. In Poland, overweight and obese people have also rapidly arrived in the last 30 years.

There is a widespread belief that to keep body weight at a constant level, you have to spend as much energy as it delivered to the body with food. It turns out that this is not true. In the US, there is an epidemic of obesity among six-month-old children, which probably never happened in the history of human species. So small children eat as much as they need and this food should satisfy their energy needs necessary for life, development and growth without causing weight gain. It’s different, but more on that later.

All people in civilized countries eat more than our ancestors ate. In the US, boys aged 2-17 eat an average of 275 kcal more than boys aged 5-10 years ago. Men eat an average of 187 kcal more, and women up to 335 kcal more. Why and where do these extra calories come from?

Fat intake among children in the US has increased in recent years by 5 g, which corresponds to 45 kcal, and carbohydrates by as much as 57 g, which gives 228 kcal.

In the eighties of the last century, there were (still apply!) Recommendations to reduce the amount of fat in the diet so as to provide 30 instead of 40% of energy. The Americans adhered to these recommendations, but this did not improve their health, quite the contrary. Along with the reduction in the amount of fat in the diet, the number of obese and overweight people began to increase, along with the number of cases of metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, diabetes and heart disease. These changes resulted in “degreasing \ diet with simultaneous” enrichment “with carbohydrates.


Where in the diet excess carbohydrates?

In the US, among children and adolescents, consumption of sweet carbonated beverages increased by 41% over the last 10 years, and fruit drinks and juices increased by 35%. Most of these beverages (as well as sweets and sauces) contain glucose-fructose syrup, which is cheaper and sweeter than sugar. Americans eat an average of 28.5 kg of this substance, which was not used before 1975. In the food industry is also used pure fructose, whose sweetness ratio is 173 (sugar – 100, glucose-fructose syrup – 120, lactose – 15, glucose – 74).


Glucose-fructose syrup (HFCS) is metabolized similarly to the sugar which is poured into the sugar bowl, which creates the appearance that it is healthy. Meanwhile, HFCS and sugar are poison. They are not just empty calories, as they are said about them, they are harmful. Therefore, consumption of products containing glucose-fructose syrup or fructose damages two times – it provides unnecessary, empty calories and poisons the body.

Before introducing HFCS to the market, Americans ate 15-24 g of fructose from fruit and vegetables daily. After 1977, consumption almost doubled (37 g), and after 1990 reached 54.7 g a day, and its main source stopped being fruits and vegetables. Currently, as much as 15% of calories in the American diet comes from fructose.


Digression about cholesterol

Not everyone knows, but “bad” LDL cholesterol consists of two factions, of which only one is harmful. The level of neutral LDL raises the fatty diet. The level of really bad vLDL raises sugar in the diet. Thus, not always high levels of LDL are indicative of a health risk. High levels of LDL at low levels of triglycerides do not threaten health. On the other hand, high levels of triglycerides with low LDL are a health risk.


With the change of diet to low-fat people have switched to a diet containing large amounts of glucose-fructose syrup, fructose and sugar, which in 50% consists of fructose. Effect? The diet is lower by 2 g of fat per day, richer by 13 g of carbohydrates and 4 g of sugar.

Currently, we eat not only less fat, but fiber. Our ancestors – hunters and gatherers – ate 100-300 g of fiber a day. We eat it in quantities of … 12 g per day. This is because we produce food from refined grains that tastes better, cooks less quickly and has a longer shelf life. It is simply more convenient.



  1. It is 7 times more susceptible to the production of advanced glycation end products, so-called AGE’s.
  2. Fructose does not block the secretion of ghrelin – hunger hormone.
  3. Fructose does not stimulate the secretion of insulin or leptin.

Leptin is a substance secreted by the body that informs the brain that you have eaten. If we eat too much, there must be interference in the operation of leptin – the brain does not know that you have eaten, so it does not suppress the appetite and allows you to eat more.

  1. Hepatic hepatic metabolism is completely different from glucose.
  2. A diet rich in fructose promotes the development of metabolic syndrome.

Compare what happens after consuming 120 kcal from glucose, ethanol (alcohol) and sugar.

  1. Glucose 120 kcal (2 slices of bread)

The glucose value of 24 kcal will reach the liver (the rest will be burned by the body, including the brain), much of which will be stored in the form of glycogen – energy reserve. The liver can store huge amounts of glycogen without harming your health. Some of the glucose will be consumed by working liver cells, and some, about 1/2 kcal will be converted into fat and “bad” LDL – vLDL. However, the resulting amount of vLDL is negligible.

Glucose the body “sees and reacts to it with a decrease in appetite and the appearance of a feeling of fullness, which prevents overeating – leptin works properly.


  1. Ethanol

Ethanol is also a carbohydrate but also a toxin. It causes depression, heart rhythm disorders, fast breathing, dehydration, disturbs thinking and the correct way of moving. What effects can fructose cause for the environment and occurring immediately after consumption? None, because the brain is unable to draw energy from fructose and metabolize it. That’s why so few people know that it is no less harmful than alcohol.

Ethanol 120 kcal

Ethanol of the value of 96 kcal will reach the liver (the rest will be used by the body on an ongoing basis, e.g. in the brain – hence the symptoms of poisoning are quickly visible). Some of it will be transformed into acetaldehyde – a harmful substance damaging the liver, some will be converted into energy, some in vLDL, some in free fatty acids, which go to the muscles, lowering their sensitivity to insulin. A substance that causes inflammation will also be created.

The effects of alcohol abuse are, among others hypertension, heart problems, pancreatitis, dyslipidemia (elevated blood fat, including triglycerides), overweight, liver damage, damage to the fetus, falling into addiction.


  1. 120 kcal sugar (50% composed of fructose and 50% glucose) – a glass of orange juice

Glucose will go through the process described above (only 20% of glucose goes to the liver), but all fructose will go to the liver, because only it has the ability to metabolize it. Thus, sweet 72 (12 + 60) kcal with 120 kcal of sugar go to the liver. For starters, the liver metabolizes fructose, producing uric acid excreted in the urine. A large amount of uric acid causes hypertension and a disease called gout.