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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Excess Fructose Content of Foods


Fructose and glucose are simultaneously absorbed in equal amounts by the intestines. Excess fructose is absorbed by a different mechanism. In individuals with fructose malabsorption, excess fructose remains in the intestines where fermentation causes gastric distress.

Glucose requires insulin to be absorbed from the bloodstream, while fructose does not. There has been vigorous debate as to whether individuals with Diabetes mellitus (a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar) should consume or avoid fructose.

In any case, it would be interesting to have a chart showing the spectrum of fructose-heavy to glucose-heavy foods.

The USDA National Nutrient Database gives nutrient values for 7636 foods; but only 1134 of them have fructose and glucose values.

This database was used to create a table of the 1134 foods having fructose and glucose values. The foods are listed in order of decreasing amount of excess fructose.

The database doesn't give data for High Fructose Corn Syrup. Used mostly in soft drinks, HFCS 55 is composed of approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose. This would give it a 13% excess of fructose, comparable to the 15% and 20% fructose excesses of lemonade powders near the top of the chart.

When dried, the Agave americana plant pictured above has the most excess fructose (39%) of the foods in the database.

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