Many sweetened drinks that are available on the market today contain something called fructose (or fruit sugar or high fructose corn syrup). In fact, the consumption of fructose in soft drinks has increased by 1000% in the USA from 1970 to 1990 and nearly all soft drinks use this ingredient!
Fructose is sweeter than sugar but has the benefit of not having the same glycaemic index (GI) as sugar. (It basically does not make your pancreas secrete as much insulin as it would with normal refined sugar.)
Initially, this was thought to be highly beneficial and many soft drink and food manufacturers started using fructose in their products. It was also thought to be a great replacement for refined sugar but now new research is uncovering a problem with the consumption of too much fructose.
The deal is this: your body reacts to the consumption of normal sugar with insulin secretion and enhanced leptin production and this process helps to tell you when you’ve had enough and it controls how much of the carbohydrates (sugars) are converted to fat.
With fructose consumption the insulin and leptin response is not what it should be and that causes the following:
a) Your body forms fat cells more easily
b) Your chances of being hungry after consuming the drink are high, in fact, you may even feel hungrier!
Thus, you may tend to eat more and then - yes - fat cells (good old adipose tissue) are formed from the extra energy that is consumed. The battle of the bulge all over again, if you get what I’m saying…!
So let me just wrap up all this technical talk:
Refined sugar = not good
Soft drinks full of fructose = not good
(Artificial sweeteners = not good. Except Xylitol, but more on this topic later)
Honey and raw fruit = good
Stevia (a natural sweetener) = good
So, if you want to use a sweetener, stick to very low levels of fructose, but preferably use honey or stevia. Fruit sugar is best consumed as part of a fruit so eat lots of yummy raw fruit.
Read more about the dangers of refined sugar here