We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Fructose?

By Jessica Gore
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Fructose, also known as levulose, is a naturally occurring monosaccharide that can be found in fruits and honey. About twice as sweet as table sugar, and with a lower glycemic index, it can be used as a natural substitute for table sugar by people wanting to cut calories or maintain healthy blood sugar levels. For these reasons, it is sometimes used commercially in prepared cakes, cookies, and other sweets. Caution must be used when using fruit sugar in home cooking, however, as it has different physical and chemical properties from table sugar, and cannot always be substituted, in equal amounts, in standard recipes.

Monosaccharides are the simplest forms of sugar, each consisting of a single sugar molecule. There are a number of monosaccharides, both synthetic and naturally-occurring, but the only monosaccharides found in food are fructose, glucose, and galactose. The simple sugars are often found as bonded pairs, in which case they become disaccharides — such as sucrose, maltose, and lactose. Sugar molecules can also bond into long chains, known as polysaccharides or complex carbohydrates. From a nutritional standpoint, complex carbohydrates can be considered the most important form of sugar in the diet, as they take longer to break down in the digestive system, and create more stable blood sugar levels than quickly processed simple sugars.

The chemical formula for monosaccharides generally involves some multiple of CH2O. In a typical monosaccharide, the carbon atoms form a chain, in which, each carbon except one is bonded to a hydroxyl group. The single carbon that does not bond with a hydroxyl group is instead double bonded to an oxygen molecule, forming a carbonyl group. The location of the carbonyl group subdivides the monosaccharides into ketone sugars and aldehyde sugars. A laboratory test known as Seliwanoff's test can be used to chemically determine whether a particular sugar is a ketone sugar, such as fructose, or an aldehyde sugar, such as glucose or galactose.

While fruit sugar and honey are generally regarded as safe, excessive consumption can lead to hyperuricemia, a condition characterized by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. There are also certain digestive disorders that are associated with difficulty processing, or absorbing, dietary fruit sugar. Fructose malabsorption is a disorder in which the small intestine lacks the ability to absorb that particular sugar, leading to a concentration of the sugar in the digestive system. Symptoms and testing for this condition are similar to those of lactose intolerance, and treatment often involves removing trigger foods from the diet.

A more serious condition is hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI), a genetic disorder involving a deficiency in the liver enzymes required for the digestion of fructose. Symptoms generally include severe gastrointestinal discomfort, dehydration, convulsions, and sweating. If left untreated, HFI can lead to permanent liver and kidney damage, and even death. While HFI is much more serious than fructose malabsorption, the treatment is similar, and usually centers around a careful avoidance of any foods containing fruit sugar or its derivatives.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon338512 — On Jun 14, 2013

Fructose can cause uric acid to build up in the blood causing gout -- yes or no?

By ddljohn — On May 10, 2011

I am also confused about what the presence of fructose should be in our diets. Since it's a natural carbohydrate, I'm inclined to say that it cannot be any more dangerous than other carbohydrates found in nature.

But at the same time, most of the fructose we consume is not coming in a natural form, it's coming from a lab. So in that sense, I think its effects on the body are probably different.

The other reason I think this is because I have read that during the time that fructose consumption has increased in the U.S., so has diabetes, heart disease and obesity. But not much other than increased use of fructose has changed in our diets.

What do you think? Should we allow unnatural forms of fructose in our diet?

By serenesurface — On May 07, 2011

Can high consumption of fructose really lead to obesity? High fructose corn syrup is found in so many products these days. It was first used in sweet products like soda, candy and so forth. But I can now see fructose in all sorts of foods. I think it is used both as a sugar substitute and also as a preservative because it's cheap.

But I have heard claims that this wide use of fructose is causing Americans to gain weight. Is this because the amount of fructose in processed foods is much higher than what we would naturally get from eating fruit?

By ysmina — On May 05, 2011

I have fructose malabsorption. My parents thought that I had irritable bowel syndrome because my uncle has the same and the symptoms were similar to what I had. After I had foods with fructose, I had bloating, felt sick and sometimes had diarrhea.

People with irritable bowel syndrome usually experience the same. But tests at the hospital found out that it was due to fructose and my body not being able to absorb it.

By anon120027 — On Oct 20, 2010

Why is it that they claim that fructose increases the multiplication of cancer cells? Apparently they thrive on it?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.