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What are some foods high in fructose?

Fructose is a type of sugar that occurs naturally across a variety of foods, including fruits, honey, and some vegetables. It may also be used as a sweetener in some processed foods and drinks we consume. While fructose is a natural component of many healthy foods (fruits and vegetables, for example), excessive consumption of fructose (such as high-fructose corn syrup) has been linked to health problems including obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. It should be noted that high-fructose corn syrup is not widely used in Australia, but some imported foods may contain it. In addition, some people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be sensitive to fructose, as well as other sugars in foods collectively known as FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). Fructose is a monosaccharide.

Below we explore some of the foods that are high in fructose so you’re able to make informed choices about the foods and drinks you consume. 

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t take only the fructose levels of foods into account for deciding what is or is not a healthy food. Fructose is just one component of a food's nutritional value, and other factors, such as the presence of vitamins, minerals, fibre, protein, and healthy fats also contribute to a food's overall healthfulness. When it comes to IBS, small amounts of fructose may be tolerated.

A piece of fruit, for example, contains fructose but also provides fibre, vitamins, and minerals that are important for overall health. On the other hand, processed foods that contain high levels of fructose may also be high in calories, saturated fats, and sodium, which can have negative health effects if consumed in excess. For people following a low FODMAP diet, there are many fruits and vegetables with lower FODMAP content to choose from.

The source of fructose is also vital to take into account. Fructose from whole fruits and vegetables is typically accompanied by other nutrients and fibre while fructose from added sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup, typically comes in less healthy foods and drinks.

It's essential to consider a food's overall nutritional profile, including its fructose content when making decisions about what to eat for optimal health. Eating a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods while limiting added sugars and processed foods is generally a good approach to promoting health and preventing chronic disease.


Fruits contain fructose, and some contain more than others.. 

Below are some fruits and other foods that contain high levels of fructose:-

  1. Honey, agave syrup
  2. Fruit juices and nectars
  3. Dried fruit
  4. Jackfruit, lychee
  5. Grapes
  6. Figs
  7. Apples, pears
  8. Pomegranate, persimmon
  9. Cherries, blackberries, blueberries, mulberries
  10. Mango, watermelon
  11. Artichokes, asparagus
  12. Leeks and onions
  13. Coconut, coconut milk or cream

Honey is a natural sweetener that’s often used as an alternative to refined sugar. The fructose content of honey varies but tends to be high. Consume in moderation if you are trying to limit your fructose intake.

Agave syrup
Agave syrup is a sweetener that is available as a sugar alternative and can also be used in a range of different processed foods and drinks. Whilst it’s marketed as a healthier alternative to refined sugar due to its low glycemic index (GI), agave syrup is actually higher in fructose than most other sweeteners.

Imported sweet drinks
Imported sweet drinks such as soft drinks (particularly those imported from the United States) are one of the most common sources of fructose because they contain high fructose corn syrup. In Australia, soft drinks are predominately sweetened with sucrose however, drinking excessive amounts of soft drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

Processed foods
Some processed foods, such as energy bars and sweet snacks can contain high amounts of fructose, either naturally occurring from dried fruit or from added sugars.

Excessive fructose consumption is associated with a range of health problems, including:-

  1. Obesity: Fructose is metabolised by the liver and converted into fat, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Consuming excessive amounts of fructose in the form of sugary drinks or processed foods has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance, which in the long term could lead to type 2 diabetes. 
  1. Liver problems: When the liver metabolises fructose, it produces triglycerides and other by-products that in very high amounts can contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is a condition that can lead to liver damage and liver failure.

While fructose is a natural component of many healthy foods, excessive consumption of added fructose in highly processed, less healthy foods may lead to health problems. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be sensitive to fructose and other FODMAPs. By making informed choices about the foods you consume and the levels of fructose in them, you can improve your overall health and well-being.



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