NUTRITION: Antidote To Fructose | Great Health Guide
NUTRITION: Antidote To Fructose

NUTRITION: Antidote To Fructose

‘Antidote To Fructose’ by Dr Helena Popovic published in Great Health Guide (Jan 2016). You may have heard it before and Dr Popovic is here to remind you of even more reasons to eliminate fructose from your diet. Here’s to your great health in 2017.
Read other Nutrition articles on Great Health Guide, a hub of expert-inspired resources empowering busy women to embody health beyond image … purpose beyond measure.

NUTRITION: Antidote To Fructose

written by Dr Helena Popovic

AT last a good news story about fructose. But first another bad news story. Sorry. 

Fructose has been shown to impair brain function by changing hundreds of genes in the hippocampus and hypothalamus that regulate learning, memory and metabolism. High fructose levels damage signaling between neurons, increase toxic molecules in the brain and diminish the ability to learn and remember information.


But the same UCLA scientists have found a promising antidote: consuming a diet high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – an omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is abundant in oily fish (particularly wild but not farmed salmon, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines) and to a lesser extent in nuts (especially walnuts) seeds, flaxseed oil, whole grains and dark green, leafy vegetables. DHA appears to have the opposite effect to fructose on gene expression. In studies on rats fed both DHA and fructose, the harmful effects of fructose were largely prevented.

Researchers trained rats to escape from a maze and then randomly assigned them to one of three groups. The first group received water containing fructose equivalent to drinking one litre of soft drink per day for six weeks. The second group received ordinary water. The third group received the same amount of fructose water as the first group, together with diet rich in DHA.

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After six weeks, the rats were put through the maze again. The rats drinking ordinary water were twice as fast as the rats drinking fructose. This indicates that fructose had impaired their memories. But the rats who drank fructose AND ate lots of DHA were almost as fast as the rats drinking ordinary water! The DHA protected their memories!

This is not a licence to consume a box of donuts as long as you had grilled salmon for dinner. There have not been any equivalent human trials nor recommendations for what constitutes a diet high in DHA. The message is that no single dietary factor is the isolated cause of poor health. It’s the totality of what we eat and the interplay of different foods that has the greatest impact on our health. So keep fueling yourself with nutritious home cooked meals and you will mitigate the effects of occasional indiscretions.

What about artificially sweetened soft drinks as an antidote to fructose? Are they better for health? No!

A US study of over 9500 adults found that consumption of diet and soft drinks was also associated with an increased risk of diabetes. After the nine-year research period, almost 40 percent of participants had developed three or more indicators of metabolic syndrome.

More recently, research published in March 2015 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealed a striking dose-response relationship between diet soda intake and abdominal obesity. Seven hundred and forty- nine Mexican and European-Americans aged 65 years and older were followed for over nine years. In that time the diet soda drinkers gained almost triple the abdominal fat as the non-diet soda drinkers. Non-drinkers had an increase in waist circumference of 0.8 inches (2 cm), occasional users an increase of 1.83 inches (4.7 cm) and daily users an increase of 3.16 inches (8 cm)!


Artificial sweeteners provide no calories because the body is not able to digest them. So how can they lead to weight gain and diabetes? In 2013, scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel set out to answer this question. They added saccharin, sucralose or aspartame to the drinking water of mice. After 11 weeks the mice showed evidence of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. The mechanism was a change in gut bacteria. Artificial sweeteners caused an increase in several different types of bacteria that had already been linked to obesity in previous human studies. When the scientists transplanted gut bacteria from saccharin- consuming mice into healthy mice, the healthy mice also developed glucose intolerance. Giving the mice antibiotics to wipe out the bacteria cured their glucose intolerance! Gut bacteria make up more than 90 percent of the cells in the human body – they need to be respected. But that’s a whole other article! Stay tuned!

Author of this article:
Dr Helena Popovic is a medical doctor, a leading authority on how to improve brain function, international speaker and best-selling author. She runs weight management retreats based on living, not dieting, and is the author of the award-winning book ‘NeuroSlimming – let your brain change your body’. For more information, refer to Helena’s website.

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Author Kathryn Dodd

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