Fructose Basics

If you are a fan of apples or you love eating a bowl of fruit salad, you get to enjoy fruit sugar. This is the colloquial term for fructose – a form of sugar that is naturally contained in fruits, many types of vegetables, as well as honey.

Fructose, Glucose and Sucrose

Fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose (grape sugar) are monosaccharides – single sugar molecules. HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) contains fructose and glucose. It is widely used as a sweetener in processed foods and drinks.

When fructose and glucose are combined, they form a disaccharide – double sugar molecule – known as sucrose (common table sugar). Hence, fructose is a natural component of sucrose. Both fructose and sucrose are found in fruit.

Like HFCS, Sucrose is used as a sweetener in processed foods and drinks.

Fructose glucose sucrose image

Digesting sugars

During digestion, the body’s digestive enzymes in the small intestine break down sucrose into its two primary components – fructose and glucose.
Why? Only monosaccharides (single sugars) can be absorbed by the human body.

Small Intestine          |         Large Intestine

  1. Fructose passes from the stomach into the small intestine as a single sugar (e.g. from fruit).
  2. Fructose and sucrose pass into the small intestine bound together as parts of sucrose. There they are released when sucrose is broken down.
  3. Fructose and Glucose are absorbed from the small intestine.