Question: I receive your recipe emails which frequently feature fructose instead of sugar. I read that fructose is a type of sugar and should be avoided. I really want to try your tasty recipes, but I’m concerned about my sugar consumption. What is fructose and why do you use it?
Many of our recipes do contain fructose as a substitute for sucrose (table or white sugar), and we're aware that the word “sugar” and any word ending in “–ose,” such as fructose, understandably cause some consternation for people watching their blood glucose levels. Fructose, found in fruit, honey and some vegetables, is a simple sugar with the same chemical formula as glucose, but it has a different molecular structure. This allows for its metabolic breakdown in the liver without the use of insulin. On the Glycemic Index (GI) scale, fructose is considered a low-GI food, producing a gradual rise in blood sugar. However, sucrose rates as an intermediate-GI food, resulting in a faster rise in blood sugar compared with fructose. Because sucrose is a combination of equal parts fructose and glucose, it requires insulin in order to be used by the body as energy; this leaves us with fructose as a tolerable alternative to “sugar.”
Fructose should not be confused with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), the popular corn-derived sweetener in soda pop and other processed food and beverages. HFCS contains a formula of 55% fructose—a “stripped-down” form of fructose that no longer contains any plant fiber—combined with 45% glucose. This concoction undergoes a multi-step manufacturing process, before it finally ends up in popular soft drinks and food. Scientists continue to study possible links between the consumption of low-satiety (or less nutritionally satisfying) HFCS products and obesity.
Some people are vehemently opposed to the consumption of any kind of sweetener, including those derived from herbs. At the Swanson test kitchen, we try to take a moderate view of all things sweet and savory; we also respect your ability to do your own research, monitor your own diet and decide how to best satisfy your own sweet tooth.
This question was answered by a trained product specialist at Swanson Health Products. Do you have a question you’d like answered? Send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.(Note: as per industry regulations, we cannot and will not answer medical questions, make treatment or diagnosis recommendations or comment on disease inquiries. Such questions must be answered by your doctor or professional health care provider.)