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All the sweet facts about sugar – Part 2

All the sweet facts about Sugar - Part 2

There are many different types of sugar and it can be confusing to know how they affect your body. This blog will delve into both lactose and fructose to help shed some light on the subject.

Lactose is sugar derived from milk, and an enzyme known as lactase helps the body to break down it down. Lactose is absorbed into the blood and used to supply energy to the body. If you've heard of people being "Lactose intolerant" it means that they don't have the enzyme required to break down these sugars, in fact, lactase production decreases after early childhood which can result in lactose intolerance. If lactose is not digested through the small intestine, it moves to the colon where bacteria can feed on it, causing gas and discomfort which can in-turn cause bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea amongst many other symptoms.

Fructose is found in fruit and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. It is the most water-soluble of all the sugars and in its purest form is very dry, odourless and sweet. In regards to sweetness, fructose is 1.7 times more as sweet as sucrose. Fructose combines with glucose (found in bread, fruits, vegetables and dairy products) to make sucrose. Fructose is regularly added to drinks due to the sweetness in comparison to glucose. When used commercially, fructose is usually derived from sugar beets, corn and sugar cane.

The body can only metabolise a certain amount of fructose in one sitting - approximately 25-50g and if large quantities are consumed, the body can experience side affects such as bloating, pain, wind, nausea and diarrhoea., Teenagers, through consumption of soft drinks have been found to consume 73g per sitting. The excess fructose which is not absorbed is passed through to the large intestine where a reaction is formed with colonic bacteria, producing fatty acids and hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane.

You would of heard of diabetes spoken about as being a major health risk to many Australians. If, over time, excess sugar is consumed it will result in the blood vessels being clogged up which can lead to diabetes. Insulin is released from the pancreas to regulate sugar levels in the body, it transfers glucose into the body's cells to be used for energy or stored as fatty acids or glycogen. Insulin has been found to play an important role in brain function and a diet high in fructose may impair not only functions of the body but also the brain.

One thing to keep in mind is the fact that a high-fructose meal will not produce insulin and therefore will not reduce appetite in comparison to glucose. Therefore if you drink a softdrink you will still be hungry after which can lead to weight gain.

Source: Stefan Mager - Sugar & Fructose Guide

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