The number of people in the world population suffering from diabetes has increased exponentially in recent decades. The changes in the lifestyle of society that have taken place in recent years have led to this remarkable increase : the disappearance of physical activity from our day to day (both at leisure and in the workplace) and a much less healthy diet than previous generations have fostered this growth.
Have you discovered that you are diabetic a short time ago? Most likely you have a large number of questions about how to deal with it, most probably related to the foods you can eat more regularly and which ones should be less present in your diet. One of the most conflicts generated is fructose.
What is diabetes and what types are there
Diabetes is a chronic pathology that means that our body is not able to assimilate sugar properly because insulin does not work properly. Insulin is a key hormone for the metabolism of sugar within our body, as we can say that it ensures that the sugar enters the cells so that they can use it as energy for all processes.
As soon as the pancreas, the organ that makes insulin, does not produce it or our body does not use it properly, there is no regulation of blood sugar levels , which rise in an uncontrolled way, producing hyperglycemia, which can cause serious damage to our body .
Types of diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes : usually appears in the first years of life, in childhood or adolescence. The pancreas is not capable of making enough insulin for the correct assimilation of blood sugar and it is necessary to provide the hormone on a daily basis. The reason for its appearance is still unknown.
- Type 2 diabetes : appears in adult life. It occurs because our body is unable to use the hormone properly and is caused by the metabolic changes we cause in our body when we suffer significant changes in our weight (such as a remarkable overweight or obesity) and lack of physical activity.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), type 2 diabetes is, without any doubt, the one that prevails in the world population. From 1980 to 2014 its prevalence increased from 4.7% to 8.5% in people over 18 years of age and in 2015 it is estimated that it directly caused the death of 1.6 million people in the world. These data show that it is, increasingly, an epidemic and that if we already have it we have to be careful so that it does not cause damage to our body. The way we feed ourselves is fundamental to this.
Can a diabetic eat fructose?
Fructose, like glucose, is a type of sugar. It is found mainly in vegetables and fruits, but that is not the only difference with other sugars. Fructose does not need insulin to be metabolized and absorbed by the cells of our body, a hormone that does need glucose. While the latter is absorbed and metabolized by virtually all organs, fructose does so directly in the liver, so it does not need the action of insulin.
This characteristic supposes that fructose does not generate those glycemic peaks (increases in blood sugar levels) after meals and that is why it is the type of sugar that diabetes patients tolerate best . But that does not mean that it can be abused, a fact that occurs nowadays, since a large amount of processed products present in stores contain it because it has fewer calories than glucose and a much higher level of sweetening.
Risks of consuming excess fructose in a diabetic
Due to the increase of the presence of fructose in the daily diet of the world population, several studies carried out by the European Food Safety Authority and the American Diabetes Association have shown that an excess of this sugar in the diet causes alterations of the metabolism , so they can generate type 2 diabetes or increase the symptoms of it, if you already have it. They also increase the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (also called bad cholesterol) in the blood, and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease due to a higher blood pressure.
The liver also undergoes modifications, since it is the organ that is responsible for the metabolism of fructose. Due to this process fat is synthesized, which can lead to suffering from fatty liver , which not only occurs in people with alcoholism. This causes this organ to become inflamed and not perform its functions properly.