Too much sugar in the diet has been referred to as “white death” and on closer inspection it boils down to the two ingredients in sugar.  A single molecule of sugar consists of equal amounts of glucose and fructose, which gets separated early during the digestive process in the small intestine.  After separation, they follow different pathways in the body and have different effects when metabolized. 

After absorption into the bloodstream following the digestive process, about 80% of glucose circulates in the blood stream and around 20% goes to the liver, while 100% of fructose goes straight to the liver.


When glucose enters the bloodstream, it signals the pancreas to release the hormone insulin, which allows cells to absorb the glucose for processing inside the cells, and in this way restoring blood sugar concentration to its normal range.  The mitochondria in cells process glucose to form energy.  Levels of the most critical energy molecule, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), is tightly maintained in the cell.

Excess glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen.  Glucose can also be converted into fats, usually as triglycerides, and stored in fat cells.

Too much sugar too often results in the body being flooded regularly with glucose, which causes repeated spikes in insulin levels.  Eventually the cells revolt and become desensitized to insulin, a condition called insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes. 

However, poor glucose control and insulin resistance are not the only villains that are associated with “white death”.


The biggest villain in the development of “white death” is fructose, and in particular its offspring, uric acid.

During digestion, fructose is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and ends up in the liver, where it goes through various steps in its metabolism.  Fructose metabolism in liver cells uses the energy molecules ATP in an unregulated way, which means a high fructose load (large glass of fruit juice or a soda) rapidly depletes energy resources.  During this interaction, ATP gets converted into the molecule AMP (adenosine monophosphate) as part of a complicated chain of chemical events and ultimately generates uric acid as an end-product.  High levels of fructose can deplete 40% to 50% of ATP in liver cells.  While ATP ends up as uric acid, the metabolized fructose in the liver is converted into fat and gets stored in the liver and via the bloodstream in fat cells in the body. 


While glucose is the currency of energy in the body, fructose is the currency of energy storage, in the form of fat, in the body.  The byproduct of fructose metabolism in the liver is uric acid.  High levels of uric acid have in the past few years come to the fore as the instigator of harmful effects on most metabolic processes in the body, including impaired brain functioning


Fructose-a-phobia. Is this for real?

For more detailed information, please note that the major role that fructose plays in the body is covered in the Health Insight Blog FRUCTOSE” and the harmful effect of uric acid is dealt with in the Health Insight BlogURIC ACID”.


Drop Acid.  Book by Dr. David Perlmutter.  Published 2022 by Little, Brown, Spark.  USA.  P.324.


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