Yes, and in numerous ways. Glucose is our energy currency, the principle form of fuel/sugar your body absorbs from the foods you eat. It can be found in pretty much anything that is sweet or starchy, like pasta, fruits, bread, potatoes, rice, vegetables and much more.
Fructose is also a natural sugar found in foods like fruits, some vegetables and honey. Most commonly, though, fructose is ingested as part of sucrose (table sugar) or the high-fructose corn syrup added to a bevy of cheap, modern products, like soda and low-fat, processed foods.
When you eat something with glucose in it, your body is able to immediately send the glucose throughout your body for it to be used as fuel.
Fructose, however, cannot be used immediately by your body. It has to be processed by your liver first. This mean it takes longer to be used and puts added work and extra fat onto your liver. The more fructose you ingest, the worse it can get. This is a process similar to how your body handles alcohol.
On top of all that, there is another difference between how your body reacts to glucose and fructose: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone in your body that is released by your fat cells. It tells your brain to stop being hungry and to stop “rewarding” you with pleasure from eating. Ghrelin is produced by your gastrointestinal tract and essentially tells us the opposite.
Glucose causes leptin to be released and suppresses ghrelin; fructose doesn’t. This means it is much easier to overeat. You don’t feel satisfied and eating still feels good. It’s part of why you hear about people drinking a dozen sodas a lot more frequently than, say, eating a dozen salads. From there it’s easy to see the numerous ways fructose will cause you trouble.
Too much fructose can lead to higher insulin resistance, less insulin efficiency, and an array of health problems, including obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
And for the record, table sugar is 50% fructose, which is only 5% less than high-fructose corn syrup. This means, avoiding HCFS is good, but you really need to monitor and regulate all your sugar intake.
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