Fructose: How Much Is Safe?

February 23, 2012 · 22 comments

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In the first part of this investigation of fructose, I explained the cascade of reactions that takes place in the body in the presence of high fructose intake. I examined the relationship between fructose, Metabolic Syndrome, AGEs, low fat and low cholesterol diets and their effects on health. It appears that too much fructose can initiate these dangerous reactions and lead to the chronic health problems associated with Metabolic Syndrome.

How much fructose is safe?

While much of the research into this question is obscure, a growing body of research suggests that greater than 50 grams of fructose a day is detrimental and may start to cause Metabolic Syndrome and all the consequent problems. However, some suggest that 25 grams should be the limit, and for people with known Metabolic Syndrome or it’s risk factors, 15 grams of fructose a day.

What constitutes 50 grams of fructose?

From the book The Sugar Fix: The High Fructose Fallout that is Making You Fat and Sick by Richard Johnson and Timothy Cower, this chart can help you determine how much fructose you get from some of the fruits you are eating.

Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5″ x .75″)
4.0
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Figs, dried 1 cup

23.0

 

As you can see, certain fruits are rather low in fructose, and others are really high. If you are not eating any processed foods or soft drinks, you can easily figure out how much you are eating in a day.

Essentially, eating 3 – 4 pieces of fresh fruit a day will give you well under the 50 gm limit that is suggested. That is assuming you are not drinking any HFCS in soft drinks or fruit juices.

Fruit Juices and Soda provide plenty of fructose

If you eat processed foods and drink even one soft drink a day, you are getting way more fructose than you should, as HFCS is in many processed foods and sodas and will add quite a high amount of fructose and cause weight gain.

Fruit juices also have a great deal of fructose, almost as much as soda. I have never been a big fan of fruit juice as it is empty sugar calories without any nutrition and highly glycemic. Having all that fructose makes it even less appealing.

In general, an 8 ounce glass of fruit juice has about 25 gms of sugar which means it has about 12 gms of fructose. In comparison, a 12 ounce can of soda has about 40 gms of sugar and about 20 gms of fructose. You can see how easy it is to over indulge in fructose when you are drinking these sweet drinks.

Fructose impacts uric acid levels in a very detrimental way

Fructose raises uric acid, and uric acid inhibits nitric oxide bioavailability. Insulin requires nitric oxide to stimulate glucose uptake.  Studies show if there is a lack of nitric oxide due to inhibition by increased levels of uric acid, this leads to fructose-induced hyperuricemia which may have a pathogenic role in metabolic syndrome.
Dr. Richard Johnson is the chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, and author of  The Sugar Fix, one of the best books on the market on the dangers of fructose.

According to the latest research in this area, the safest range of uric acid is between 3 and 5.5 milligrams per deciliter, and there appears to be a steady relationship between uric acid levels and blood pressure and cardiovascular risk, even down to the range of 3 to 4 mg/dl.

Dr. Johnson suggests that the ideal uric acid level is probably around 4 mg/dl for men and 3.5 mg/dl for women. He feels that serum uric acid may be used as a good indicator of sensitivity to fructose.

At your next physical exam, ask your doctor to include the serum uric acid test with the rest of your blood work.

This post is shared at: Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Sunday School, Seasonal Celebration, Monday mania, Sugar-Free Sunday, Barnyard Hop, Meatless Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Tasty Tuesday Tidbits, Tasty Tuesday Naptime, Hearth & Soul Hop, Traditional Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday 33, Sustainable Ways, These Chicks Cooked, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day, Mommy Club, Creative Juice Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Thriving on Thursday, Tastastic, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 j3nn February 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm

This is a great post and I find the fructose chart very useful! I am curious about honey, maple syrup, etc. comparisons.

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2 Heather February 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

I’m curious too. When I get time I’ll have to look into that further

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3 Judy@Savoring Today February 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

Great post, Jill, I really appreciate the chart–so helpful to see it laid out like that. I have a friend struggling with giving up sugar, I will definitely forward this on to her.

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4 Neveen February 24, 2012 at 9:03 am

Wow Jill, this is awesome. I’m pregnant, so I try to watch my sugar intake. I do drink pure cranberry juice that’s just cranberries and water. I do so to keep UTIs at bay which I seem to be prone to during pregnancy. Do you include unsweetened cranberry juice in with the fruit juice category?

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5 Jill February 24, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi Neveen,
According to NutritionData.com it still has about 30 gms of sugar.
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/7678/2

Take a look at the label on the bottle and see what each serving contains and how many grams make up a serving. I was surprised to see how sweet it is even without added sugar, but juice is all sugar as there is not fiber in it.

I think it would be OK to use if you drink it with a meal, if it helps with the UTIs.

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6 Neveen February 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Thanks Jill. Drinking a glass with food is a great idea.

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7 Natalia February 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

Wow! I am eating over 50 grams every day just by having fruits. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fruits! I guess, I’ll have to cut back. I can easily have 4-5 clementines, an apple, a pear and some blueberries watching TV in the evening. I can’t believe that too much fruit is actually bad.

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8 Neveen February 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Natalia, I’m right there with you. I get so hungry that I tend to eat a lot of fruit to keep me satisfied. My 2-year-old also eats his fair share of fruit. Man, I hate to cut down on fruit.

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9 France @ Beyond The Peel February 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Great post Jill. The chart is super helpful and the information thorough. Thanks for sharing it.

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10 Jen February 29, 2012 at 7:55 am

It looks like that chart has only the free fructose listed and does not include the sucrose in the calculation. Sucrose is half glucose, so after digestion (your gut splits sucrose into glucose and fructose) you are getting a large hit of fructose from several of the fruits that are listed as low fructose. If a fruit, or indeed any food like onions, tastes sweet, it can be assumed to have lots of fructose until proved otherwise.

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11 April @ 21st Century Housewife February 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I was interested to learn more about fructose levels and the fructose content of the different foods in this post. Thank you for sharing it.

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12 Charlene@APinchofJoy March 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Great post! I appreciate having solid facts on this topic!

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13 Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network March 3, 2012 at 5:54 am

Wow I love your posts- I was staggered that the fructose content of a cup of blueberries was as high as a banana!

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14 Fay Yusof January 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Much thanks for this great and enlightening post. The awareness gained is immediately applicable.

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15 Ophiolog March 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Wow! Fructose raises uric acid levels and thereby reduces nitric oxide! That sounds really scary, until you learn that it takes at least 213 g/day (see: Journal of Nutrition, 2012;142:916-23). Who consumes that much fructose?

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16 Dee May 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I am impressed with article. I am observer of my body some time I get minor gout type of feeling when I had probably too much fructose. It had explained it nicely how fructose is releated to hyperuricemia.
we are 4 sibling 2 are having gout and 2 are close to border type-2
great research

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17 Trish K October 7, 2013 at 6:46 am

Hi thank you for this. Was researching cranberry juice as it seems to help thyroids. Noticed it needs to be drunk in minimal amounts. I now have Hashimotos Disease which I believe gave me my fructose intolerance. Having had brain damage in a car accident 30 yrs ago I am very sensitive to all foods with additives and chemicals and also my son is on the spectrum so I watch what we eat. I believe and its my experience when I eat fructose, ( pass out) that fructose gives us depression. I have an aneasthetic affect and pass out and sleep and feel drowsy for 2 days. I only eat certain fruit and we are all different. I totally exclude all things fructose chemical based. Live in France now used to live in Australia very plastic food. I eat more goats cheese now and drink milk – no lactose. Eat epautre bread which is the ancient grain not much gluten. My experience is stay away from all things fructose. It causes obesity and depression and high blood pressure. That is why kids now are showing signs. The french believe you can eat 2 squares of dark choc, at 4 or 5 for energy. Eat fatty foods at lunch not dinner, limit meat, and eat tons of veg. I haven’t eaten and onion, leek or asparagus in 7 yrs nor an apple or a pear. Onions are lethal if you have fructose malabsorption. Try some Chorella or Spirulina for energy when you can eat your greens and good luck!!!!!!

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