How people acquire fructose malabsorption and fructose intolerance – a conspiracy theory.

Published: 16th December 2009
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An article on the Gluten Free Pages site looks at how the increase in celiac disease victims could be caused by farmers over the last few hundred years purposely selecting varieties of grains that have abnormally high gluten levels. The purpose being to provide grains that will be turned into high gluten flours to assist bakers in keeping their breads and cakes together.

In a similar vein, consider that people who eat too much calorie rich food are prone to increased likelihoods of acquiring diabetes 2. Its not necessarily the foods, but the amount or concentrations that cause both diseases.

Some allergy reactions are believed to be traced to an increases in environmental pollutants lowering people's resistance to certain allergies and diseases (changes in immune functioning). It appears that fructose malabsorptionand fructose intolerance may also be linked to a very simple 'accidental' increase in the concentration of fructose in certain foods in our diets. However, unlike the intentional increase in high concentration gluten grains, this increase in fructose has not been caused by a quest by farmers to pack more fructose into their fruits, the cause is seemingly further downstream.

While the following information is taken from a LA TIME article about the concerns of the over-consumption of fruit juice in our diets being linked to obesity, it also provides a good base for my fructose conspiracy theory.

The logic goes a little like this:

1 In World War II, the US Army commissioned scientists to invent a system for freezing OJ in a concentrated form. The result was the "Minute Maid" patent that created cans of frozen juice concentrate.

2 In the 1950s, Tropicana developed pasteurization technology so that juice could be sold in refrigerated cartons like milk.

3 US TV fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne and other health experts branded juice as a natural medicine, and decades of advertising made drinking juice concentrate a staple in our diet.

4 By the 1900s, Florida citrus growers harvested more oranges than they could sell - and because you can easily drink the juice of many more oranges than you can eat whole, they decided to sell high concentrations of juice in many drinks including cola sodas. This push to sell fructose heavy drinks in the US soon spread around the world.

Consider that "when fructose is eaten in a piece of fruit, it enters the body slowly so the liver has time to convert it into chemical energy. But a single glass of apple juice has the fructose of six apples." Ref 1

Besides the bulk increase of fructose density that our bodies were never meant to consume, the concentrates also lead to obesity concerns which can lead to diabetes 2. Curiously as US and Australian schools are outlawing soda drinks in school vending machines, juice drinks are taking their place (which have equal calories and often more fructose).

While juice does add vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to our diet, fruit does the same, in much more appropriate concentrations. Raw fruit also contains many other nutrients that do not survive many drink manufacturing processes.

"A glass of juice concentrates all the sugar from several pieces of fruit. Ounce per ounce, it contains more calories than soda, though it tends to be consumed in smaller servings. A cup of orange juice has 112 calories, apple juice has 114, and grape juice packs 152, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The same amount of Coke has 97 calories, and Pepsi has 100." 100% fruit juice poses the same obesity-related health risks as Coke, Pepsi and other widely vilified beverages. Ref 1

Now most of the main reference article is written with a view to warning people about the affects of concentrated fruit juice on weight gain, however as a fructose intolerance or malabsorptionperson should now understand, drinking fruit juice (concentrate) can directly relate to how you may have acquired your condition in the first place.

The author of this GFP article loves fruit and realises that this affair was fostered in childhood where his father grew many varieties of fruit trees in his home yard. As many people do not have this background it is easy to understand that parents with guilty consciences may think that substituting juice concentrate regularly into a diet is a clever way of getting 'healthy food' easily into everyone's diet. However an overdose of concentrate is equivalent to an overdose of fructose, which "may" contribute to the early onset of fructose intolerance or malabsorption.

As a society we are much more aware of the way that all types of fats need to be controlled in our diets, however 'good' sugar variety levels are much lesser known and fructose can be concealed in many sources. It may be that adding fruit juice concentrate to your diet just exceeds the healthy daily allowance of fructose from all sources.

Consider the following list of "Foods highest in Fructose" (based on levels per 200-Calorie serving) that Ref 2 has compiled:

1 Carbonated beverage, cola, with higher caffeine [pop, soda, soft drink] Fructose: 29760mg

2 Carbonated beverage, cola, without caffeine [pop, soda, soft drink] Fructose: 29760mg

3 Carbonated beverage, lemon-lime soda, contains caffeine [pop, soft drink, white soda] Fructose: 28634mg

9 Carbonated beverage, SPRITE, lemon-lime, without caffeine [pop, soft drink, white soda] Fructose: 25954mg

10 Juice, apple and grape blend, with added ascorbic acid Fructose: 25837mg



Now consider the radical concept of avoiding high density gluten grains and products to starve off the risk of acquiring gluten intolerance (this may not help reducing the chance of acquiring coeliac / celiac disease as much as this is believed to be gene related). To avoid fructose intolerance, perhaps sticking to a non soda, non fruit juice concentrate diet is a good idea. Particularly as many drinks do not specify what type of sugar is included, nor do many people know what a 'safe' level of fructose in concentrate should be.

Imagine something that has been promoted for decades as a health panacea actually causing an illness, just because of its high concentration levels. With the high cost of fruit, and in particular organic fruit, it is easy to understand how buying fruit juice concentrate may seem like a healthy alternative. While the concept of avoiding or limiting juice concentrate in your diet and children's diet may seem controversial I recommend that you read the article in the reference in full and make up your own mind.




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