the case for fructevia
Several months back my brother who is the President and CEO of Steviva Brands asked if I would endorse his product Fructevia, a natural sweetener that combines fruit sugar and stevia. Being my brother, I of course wanted to help him out. However, all of the press about the dangers of fructose made me wary to put my name and reputation on the line. I declined the endorsement until I had done more research about fructose metabolization and the differences between fructose and high fructose corn syrup. I can safely say after mulling over the literature, I’m happy to give my brother the endorsement and here’s why.
Low dose fructose lowers blood sugar – Before we knew how make sugar and Twinkies, humans quelched their thirst for sweets with fruit. The sugar in fruit is primarily fructose and is the sweetest of all of the sugars. Historically, we consumed roughly 20 grams of fructose in a day. That amounts to around 4 – 5 teaspoons full...that’s TEAspoons. Today, American consume roughly 21 teaspoons per day amounting to a whopping 105 grams of straight fructose usually from soda or processed food.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that in small doses (7.5 gr.) fructose actually lowered blood glucose and was more effective at doing so in people who had poor glucose tolerance than those that didn’t.
Therefore using a small amount of fructose during a meal can actually be helpful. The key is a small amount as the danger is in the dose.
Combine sugar with fiber – Back to nature again, we find that the sugar in fruit is combined with fiber. Sugar cane for instance is packed full of sugar. Eating it unproccessed is like chewing on a tree branch. Nature packaged it with the necessary constituents to offset the high content of sugar. An apple which contains roughly 6 grams of fructose is full of pectin, an indigestible fiber which slows down the metabolism of the sugar.
In Fructevia, my brother added FOS (fructooligosaccharides), a dietary fiber that slows the digestion of the fructose making it an healthier choice than if you were to eat it straight without the fiber added.
FOS feeds bifidobacteria – Since we’re on the subject of FOS let’s talk about why it’s important. Our friendly gut flora which contribute so mightily to our health (see Five Reasons Probiotics can Rock your Internal World) need the basics of life to survive, just like we do. They need water, shelter and food. Their food is fiber. They go hog wild over fiber breaking it down to make vitamins and energy. FOS is like Filet Mignon to your friendly fiber and it keeps them healthy so they can keep you healthy.
Fruit not corn – Corn is cheap in big part because growing it is supported by Government programs. Corn is also commonly genetically modified which has the potential to negatively impact our health. Because corn is cheap, it is commonly processed to make sweeteners despite the fact that it is very low in fructose especially compared to fruit. Corn, likely because it is so ubiquitious in our society is also becoming a major allergen mildly irritating the immune system of those who eat it. Fructose from a pure fruit source provides a cleaner product.
Fructose is not High Fructose Corn Syrup – High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from corn sugar which is mostly sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide that is, two molecules hooked together; one fructose and one glucose. We’ve been eating this type of sugar for eons and our body knows how to break the bond and utilize those sugars because they are natural sweeteners.
With HFCS, enzymes are used to break the bond between the glucose and fructose so you don’t have to. Additional chemical convert the extra glucose molecules from the corn to fructose molecules so they get a 45% - 55% ratio of fructose to glucose. HFCS is a mixture of free floating fructose and free floating glucose so when you consume it, your body does not need to break any bonds. The glucose goes straight into the blood and the fructose goes straight to the liver. Fructose has a glycemic rating of 20 while HFCS has a glycemic rating of 73.
Fructose is sweeter – because fructose is nearly twice as sweet as sugar, you need a smaller dose to get the same bang for you buck. When stevia is added you need an even smaller amount. Since the danger is in the dose using Fructevia allows you to consume much smaller quantities of sugar while still enjoying your favorite holiday dessert.
Dr. Cheri King ND
Dr. Cheri King is a licensed naturopathic physician in the State of Oregon. She attended National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR where she graduated with honors in research for her work investigating detoxification diets.
She is a cofounder of the Naturopathic Medical Student Association, and received the Jim Lemkin World in Balance award for achievement in applying holistic healing principles in her own life as well as the lives of others. She also received the David Family Award scholarship and the Founders merit scholarship for outstanding performance.
She teaches nutrition and wellness at the Community College of Denver and sees patients at her private practice, Colorado Natural Health Center, in Louisville, CO.
For more information about Dr. King go to www.coloradonaturalhealthcenter.com