In Wednesday's Tribune, we look at the growing body of research into potentially dangerous effects of fructose in our diet. Along with glucose, fructose is one of the two main simple sugars in our food, composing about of half of the contents of table sugar and a little more than half of most high fructose corn syrup.
Just as recent science has divided dietary fats into good, bad and really bad categories, some scientists now think different sugars also may deserve individual scrutiny.
Part of the job of a consumer watchdog reporter is to look at that literature. Scientists are finding that when high levels of fructose bombard our liver, the organ converts a lot of it into internal fat that can cause, among other things, insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes. We look at those studies -- and the counter studies -- that have led the National Institutes of Health to convene a two day conference in November on the issue.
We also look at a petition urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require food makers to disclose fructose levels on labels in the same way trans fats now need to be labeled. The new fructose findings have also, to an extent, reignited the debate over sugar vs high fructose corn syrup because other recent studies have shown that some HFCS contains much higher levels of fructose than many scientists had assumed.
It's a fascinating subject with far-reaching potential. And you can bet the Tribune will continue to monitor the developing science on the subject.
-- Monica Eng
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