According to a recent research, it overflows into areas of the gut which are not designed to ever see sugar.
Previously it was thought that fructose in our food and drinks are processed by the liver. Fructose is the sugar found in fruit and fruit juices. Conversely, a recent study proposes that fructose is primarily processed in the small intestine rather than the liver.
This study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism. It exposes that processed high-sugar drink and food only spills over into the liver for processing when the small intestine becomes overwhelmed.
The new findings add to the scientific knowledge on the effects of excessive fructose on the body. We recognize from the previous study that excessive sugar consumption is harmful to the liver. And chronic overconsumption causes obesity, creates situations for the onset of diabetes. Too much sugar may also increase resistance to insulin.
Last year, Medical News Today reported on a research. They found that fructose-containing foodstuffs like sweetened drinks can increase the risk of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. “This can ultimately lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.”
Study observed fructose digestion in mice
The researchers, from Princeton University in New Jersey, used mice to study how fructose travels through their digestive system. Their observations suggest that the body processes different amounts of sugar differently. This happens because of physiological differences.
The team observed that all the sugar was not processed in the liver of the mice. They found that more than 90 percent of fructose was processed in the small intestines.
The research team found that fructose not absorbed into the small intestine is passed through to the colon, where it comes into contact with the microbiome. The microbiome is the micro biotic flora which lives in the colon and large intestine.
The researchers also describe that the microbiome is not designed for sugar processing. Thus, while one can eat an infinite amount of carbohydrates without exposing their microbiome to sugar. But when you drink the juice or soda, the microbiome is seeing a really powerful nutrient which it was designed to never see.
Therefore, this changes knowingly when high-sugar products like soda and juice are consumed. Though the outcomes do not prove that fructose influences the microbiome, the research team considers that “an effect is likely.” They propose that this relation should be investigated further in coming studies. As it may deliver new visions into the negative effects of high sugar intake.
Eat sugar only after meals
The team hypothesizes that during phases of fasting, like in the morning or mid-afternoon, individuals may be more vulnerable to fructose. This happens because small intestine has reduced capacity to process fructose during these times.
As the author of the study Joshua D. Rabinowitz, of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, describes, “We can offer some assurance — at least from these animal studies — that fructose from adequate amounts of fruits will not reach the liver.”
“We observed that nourishing mice prior to the sugar exposure enhanced the ability of the small intestine to process fructose,” Rabinowitz continues. “Therefore, that protected the microbiome and the liver from sugar exposure.”
Rabinowitz explains that the consequences support “the most old-fashioned instruction in the world,” that is to “limit sweets to moderate amounts after meals”. And try to avoid sugary drinks outside of meal times.
How to avoid sugar in soft drinks and juices
The results of the study add to the evidence of the hazards of high sugar intake. And that even the natural sugars present in fruit juices are harmful to us. When consumed in excess or in a processed or concentrated form. More disturbing is the fact that most fruit juices also contain added sweeteners and sugars. These artificial sweeteners often contain as much sugar and calories as a sugary soft drink.
Though fruit juices may contain nutrients vitamins, and antioxidants, the lack of fiber and the harmful effects of large quantities of sugar should be of more distress than any nutritional welfares.
So, try to use sugary products and beverages in moderate amounts. Therefore, to avoid fruit juices and sugar-sweetened soft drinks, our suggestion where ever possible is to drink water.