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FructoseFructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847. Pure, dry fructose is a very sweet, white, odorless, crystalline solid and is the most water-soluble of all the sugars. From plant sources, fructose is found in honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries and most root vegetables. In plants, fructose may be present as the monosaccharide and/or as a component of sucrose.

Commercially, fructose is usually derived from sugar cane, sugar beets and corn and there are 3 commercially important forms. Crystalline fructose is the monosaccharide, dried and ground, and of high purity. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a mixture of glucose and fructose as monosaccharides. Sucrose is the third form. All forms of fructose, including fruits and juices, are commonly added to foods and drinks for palatability, taste enhancement and improved browning of some foods, such as baked goods.

About 240,000 tons of crystalline fructose are produced annually.

Food Sources

Natural sources of fructose include fruits, vegetables (including sugar cane), and honey. Fructose is often further concentrated from these sources. The highest dietary sources of fructose, besides pure crystalline fructose, are foods containing table sugar (sucrose), high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, and fruit juices, as these have the highest percentages of fructose (including fructose in sucrose) per serving compared to other common foods and ingredients. Fructose exists in foods either as a free monosaccharide or bound to glucose as sucrose, a disaccharide. Fructose, glucose, and sucrose may all be present in a food; however, different foods will have varying levels of each of these three sugars.

The sugar contents of common fruits and vegetables are presented in Table 1. In general, in foods that contain free fructose, the ratio of fructose to glucose is approximately 1:1; that is, foods with fructose usually contain about an equal amount of free glucose. A value that is above 1 indicates a higher proportion of fructose to glucose, and below 1 a lower proportion. Some fruits have larger proportions of fructose to glucose compared to others. For example, apples and pears contain more than twice as much free fructose as glucose, while for apricots the proportion is less than half as much fructose as glucose.

Apple and pear juices are of particular interest to pediatricians because the high concentrations of free fructose in these juices can cause diarrhea in children. The cells (enterocytes) that line children's small intestines have less affinity for fructose absorption than for glucose and sucrose. Unabsorbed fructose creates higher osmolarity in the small intestine, which draws water into the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in osmotic diarrhea. This phenomenon is discussed in greater detail in the Health Effects section.

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Cocoa Powder


Corn Starch


Dextrose


Fructose


Glucose


MSG


Sodium Citrate


Anticaking


Citric Acid