Why Fructose is Making You Fat
and how you can fix it using the Power of Leptin
Don’t get me wrong, I love fruit and eat a piece or two each day, however if you are reading this you’re likely in a search for weight loss, to get lean, get shredded – to burn body fat.
I’m here to prove that eating too much fructose is putting your body into a very efficient fat storing factory that no exercise routine can overcome. THIS is the reason 9 out of 10 people are fat.
Primer; The Hormones Insulin and Leptin
Insulin is a widely understood hormone that is released by the pancreas after we eat carbohydrate. Cool.
What’s less known is insulin’s counterpart, the less understood hormone leptin. Leptin is a hormone released by adipose tissue (fat) which signals to the brain how lean the body is.
High Body Fat = More Leptin in blood and increased metabolism
Low Body Fat = Less Leptin in Blood and decreased metabolism
The reason for this mechanism is simple; in times of famine the body will more effectively store its energy rather than simply burning it off through simple metabolism.
Now the amount of leptin running through the blood is dependent on two things; the amount of body fat present and daily caloric intake.
Focusing on daily caloric intake, we already know that insulin is released when we eat. Well leptin is signaled to be released by insulin.
Let me break this down;
We eat a potato; our body processes it into glucose and our pancreas releases insulin. This insulin signals the fat cells to release leptin allowing the brain to know the body is satiated. This is the process that allows the body to maintain homeostasis. Not too fat, not too skinny.
The Problem with Fructose
What hormone is signaled by insulin? Leptin. What does leptin do? It tells the brain to stop eating. What happens if there is no leptin in the blood? Feasting continues.
It gets worse. Although fructose doesn’t cause an immediate insulin spike, studies show that excessive fructose consumption leads to insulin resistance. This is a worst case scenario for an obese person.
This is a freight train out of control. This means that the body will be in a constant state of low leptin levels, causing excessive fat gain that cannot be stopped except through dietary change.
Scary stuff and it’s not pseudo science. Check out this peer reviewed study. To quote;
"The combined effects of lowered circulating leptin and insulin in individuals who consume diets that are high in dietary fructose could therefore increase the likelihood of weight gain and its associated metabolic sequelae."
Why does this happen? What is the advantage to this adaptation?
He suggests that during months where fruit would have been naturally available (which contain high amounts of fructose), the body would benefit from storing this excess fructose as fat for the colder months that follow.
This is likely a mutation that took place millions of years ago that helped our species survive, therefor continuing throughout our evolution. The species that couldn’t store the fructose would have died as the extra fuel would have simply been wasted.
Enter the Neolithic Age
Hello 1985. Sugar cane and honey are dependent on nature, which we all know throws curveballs. In 1957 High Fructose Corn Syrup was invented and in 1985 Coca-Cola decided it would be a better business decision to replace sugar with this cheap, manufactured sugar. Everybody knows what happened after that; fructose is everywhere and in everything. Cookies, chips, soda, even sport drinks.
After having an understanding of how fructose is metabolized and how the body attempts to maintain homeostasis, it’s clear to see why this is a problem.
But I thought Fruit was Healthy
We need to make better decisions about what we put into our body. Food manufacturers need to be more responsible for what they’re selling us.
Healthy Fructose Sources
The good news is that in nature, fructose is usually accompanied with fiber and in smaller amounts. Fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals, plus anti-oxidants.
They Secret; Get your fructose from selected whole, organic fruits and choose wisely. Professionals suggest getting around 25-30 grams each day to remain lean. Each person is different so starting with this amount and adjusting would be a good idea.
Here are my favorite fruits and why I choose them;
1.Pineapple (8.4g fructose per cup) – Bromelain for protein digestion
2.Kiwi (3.1g fructose per kiwi fruit) – more vitamin C than an orange
3.Blueberries (7.4g fructose per cup)– Packed full of anti-oxidants
4. Papaya (5.4g fructose per cup)– contains popain to aid in digestion
5. Apple (10.7g fructose per apple) – although higher in fructose, apples are high in fiber and contain antioxidant pectin
How to use Leptin for Extreme Weight Loss (fat loss)
The dieter may have the best intentions, but less than a week into the diet the body says “hold up” and puts the brakes on fat loss and starts clinging onto fat.
The body recognizes the hormonal shift (less insulin = less leptin) and metabolism slows in an effort to conserve fuel. The body literally works against the dieters best intentions.
What the “Cheat Your Way Thin” technique suggests is a simple refuel every 5 days or so. By doing a re-feed the body will have a huge insulin spike which will raise leptin levels back up to normal if not higher than they were previously.
What this does is create an atmosphere that is primed for fat loss! The crazy thing is that that Joel suggests is to really pig out. He suggests doing a big “no-no” in my book. He suggests mixing fat and carbs together in a single meal with foods like burgers and pizza. Everybody knows carbohydrate raises insulin more than fat or protein, but many people don’t realize that fat and carbohydrate together release the hormone GIP (Glucose-dependent insulinotrophic peptide) which raises insulin more than any single macro.
By doing this re-feed every 5 days the dieter is able to avoid fat loss plateau due to a constant flow of leptin in the blood.
Is this the healthiest way to achieve weight loss? Doubtful. However it’s still a great idea to use these concepts and simply incorporate healthy re-feeds using fatty grass fed beef and potatoes! Throw in some veggies cooked in grass fed butter. The possibilities are endless.
After reviewing the fructose chart, it’s clear that fruits should still be enjoyed, we just need to make wise choices. Avoiding the crap frees up room for fructose from fruits which will also give us the other benefits discussed above.
After understanding a few basic concepts it’s easy to see why people have so much success on the Paleo diet. You simply can’t go wrong eating whole foods, the way nature intended.