Sugar intake has risen dramatically over the last century which seems to correlate closely with the rise in obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Simple sugars include both glucose and fructose. While glucose is generally utilized by the body for energy production, fructose is known to produce high amounts of harmful substances. Added sugars to our food sources mostly stem from fructose, and fructose metabolism can cause some pretty significant damage. Fructose can actually deplete our energy sources, cause death to our cells, stimulate fat making enzymes, and produce excess uric acid.
Studies on rats have shown fructose intake to instigate all markers of metabolic syndrome – increased waistline, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, lipid abnormalities, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. These studies have also shown high fructose intake to stimulate free radicals, weaken the arteries, create a fatty liver, and cause kidney damage.
All of our cells can efficiently utilize glucose for energy, placing little to no pressure on the liver to break it down. Conversely, ALL of the fructose we consume is metabolized by the liver as it is the only organ with the transporter to do so. Since it cannot provide us with energy it is converted into the damaging form of cholesterol, free fatty acids, and triglycerides – which are then stored as body fat. This accumulation eventually leads to insulin resistance and NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.) Dietary fructose can trick the body into eating more by altering its ability to feel satiated, further leading to obesity. The by-products of fructose metabolism in the liver cells form a substance known as JNK1, a protein mutation, that is responsible for liver insulin resistance and inflammation. A laundry list of waste products and toxins are created by fructose metabolism, including large amounts of uric acid adding to Hypertension, Hyperuricemia, and Gout.
Dr. Robert Lustig created a video in 2009 called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” in which he describes how high fructose consumption damages the liver, the brain, and the pancreas much the same as alcohol does – and while alcohol is regulated, fructose is not. Lustig points out, “You’d never consider giving your kid a beer, but you wouldn’t think twice about giving him a Coke, yet they do the same thing. That’s the problem.”
Rounding back to uric acid specifically, we’d like to focus on cellular turnover and cellular death that accounts for the majority of uric acid production and excretion limitations. Only 30% of uric acid productions stems directly from the foods we eat (purines.) Below is a chart that displays fructose-induced nucleotide turnover. Essentially, the very molecules that are the building blocks of our DNA are altered by fructose metabolism, decreasing intracellular phosphate and stimulating uric acid generation. Sugar is NOT a purine problem; you will not find fructose on the “foods to avoid” list or high-purine charts. Instead, fructose has a significant impact on the body on a much deeper, cellular level. Fructose not only increases uric acid production; it also reduces the excretion halting the kidneys from getting rid of the excess.
Fructose is everywhere, hiding in almost all processed foods, from condiments to baby formula. Its contribution to our pervasive health problems is beyond evident and something we need to address. From obesity to Gout to Cancer, the correlation between the rise of metabolic syndrome and our sugar-laden dietary evolution, is far too blatant to ignore. Do you want to get honest about your health and your diet? Gout sufferers, and pretty much anyone that wants to be healthy, should limit their fructose to 25g TOTAL per day. The image below can show you just how quickly that can add up. Take a look at how you might be contributing to your demise…..