Tag Archives: Dr. Mercola

Fructose: Friend or Foe?


Earlier this month, Mr. Jack & I planted 3 fruit trees in our yard. Two of them are multi-graft stone fruits and #3 is a Fuji apple, the only apple which is recommended for our slightly-too-warm gardening zone. We plan to have a fancy new dehydrator by the time the crops start ripening next year, adding a whole new dimension to trail food prep!

We do eat a lot of dried fruit while backpacking, mayb
e more than a ½ cp per day. That’s considerably more than we generally eat at home.Our average fresh fruit consumption is one lone apple–less than 9.5 g of fructose, since we tend toward the tangy rather than the sweet. I did binge on persimmons earlier this year, which average 10.6 grams, and then there are those summer stonefruits, plums (1.2) & apricots (1.3). Last year I was a little concerned about the relatively high sugar content, but I got over it. Dried fruit remains one of the simpliest, tastiest ways to consume calories on the trail.

But recently I read an article about agave syrup on Dr. Mercola’s website (you might have to sign up to read the whole thing), which mentioned the dangers of eating more than 25g of fructose a day. Now, that sure seems like a lot of fructose to me! But it got me to thinking: how much fructose might be in that half-cup of dried fruit? I do my best to avoid sugar at home. Am I overdoing it on the trail just because I’m super-burning calories?

So guess what I did? Yep: I did the math. Turns out that half-cup of dried fruit could contain between 34g (all apples) or up to 87g (all raisins). Whew. Easy on the raisins, there, when you’re mixing up that fruit.

Turns out, though, that if I’d kept reading, I could have spared myself the word problems:

“Exercise can be a very powerful tool to help control fructose in a number of ways. If you are going to consume fructose it is BEST to do so immediately before, during or after INTENSE exercise as your body will tend to use it directly as fuel and not convert it to fat Additionally exercise will increase your insulin receptor sensitivity and help modulate the negative effects of fructose.”

Despite the fact that backpacking might be considered an intense exercise (if done correctly), I’m still going light on the raisins.

And I’m still going to stay away from the agave syrup. What will I use instead?

Lundberg’s Organic Brown Rice Syrup. That’s right: rice syrup. Not just because I love rice, but because it is remarkably thick, golden & sticky (just like honey) while being less sweet than sugar, honey, agave syrup or maple syrup. So it provides the same delicious binding with a lot less, well, sweetness. Some of us like that sort of thing.

Here’s the sugar breakdown for Lundberg’s Brown Rice Syrup, thanks to Diana Lopez-Vega!

Glucose (dextrose) 20-25%
Maltose 25-30%
Other Carbohydrates 26-36%

Of course, it’s all still sugar, but as a tablespoon of the syrup has only 11 grams of sugar, even I would have a hard time agitating against it. Now, you still might want to account for all the fructose in that dried fruit, but please don’t make me do any more math!.dropcap:first-letter{>float:left;>color:black;>font-size:250%;>}>

Sugar is Not Your Friend


Hi, Kids. Sorry about the delay in posting the sugar rant. The music festival in Golden Gate Park last weekend absorbed the entire weekend, including Monday. And now I feel like I’m coming down with something feverish …

Please take this opportunity to visit Dr. Mercola’s list of 76 ways sugar is bad for you & then pop over to an article on the American Heart Association’s first-ever sugar recommendations:

Surveys have also found that the average American consumes around 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar every day. According to the new guidelines, we should really be eating a fraction of that amount. The recommended sugar intake for adult women is 5 teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day, for adult men, it’s 9 teaspoons (36 grams) daily, and for children, it’s 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day.

The list at the end, of the added sugars in foods, is especially helpful.

One more thing before I take my aching body to bed: I bought an oatmeal raisin walnut Clif Bar today at the grocery; you know Clif Bar, “nutrition for sustained energy?” This 68g bar has 240 calories, 45 of which come from fat. It also has 20g of sugar that provide 75 calories, just over 30% of the calories in the entire bar. That’s a lot of sugar, yes? Of course some of that sugar is inherent in raisins, which are listed 4th in the ingredient list. But a certain amount comes from these ingredients (the number that follows lists their position in the ingredients)

  • organic brown rice syrup (1)
  • organic evaporated cane juice (5)
  • molasses powder (9)

And whether this is interesting to you or not, what about the fact that you could eat 100g of raisins to get 20g of sugar? That’s over half a cup of raisins! Or you could have an apple …

The short story here is that although our bodies do need sugar, and in fact, run on nothing but sugar, sugar in its free, or anarchic state — released from the released from the natural, protective whole-food state that includes the complexity of fiber, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals — is not at all wholesome.

Even if you don’t suffer from cavities, sleeplessness, migraines, weight gain or diabetes 2, this negative-nutritional substance is working secretly to ruin your health

Added sugar, in its free (or anarchic) state is known to … reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.

In short, there is no nutritional value in anarchic sugars, and only danger and ill-health can result from eating too much sugar, whether white, brown, honey-ed or molassesed. Have some fruit instead.

Next blog, I’ll tell you the story of the man who climbed Mt. Shasta on foiled-wrapped, semi-solid, brand name sugar. Not for the faint-hearted.

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