Refined sugar vs. fructose vs. dextrose, or: Which sugar is how healthy for whom?

Which sugar is healthy, which is healthier? Is sugar the same as sugar? Surely you are familiar with the following statements:

  • "Brown sugar contains minerals"
  • "Honey is healthier than sugar"
  • "Coconut blossom sugar is a healthy sugar alternative".

Much of this is simply false.

Nice sounding sugars like "coconut blossom sugar" or "cane sugar" are chemically exactly the same as good old beet sugar, namely sucrose. Our bodies don't really care whether the sugar was transported from the other side of the world (coconut blossom sugar), or whether it was produced from the local sugar beet. Sucrose remains sucrose for our body, and always consists of half glucose and half fructose.

Our brain and other organs need glucose (dextrose) to function well. This can be taken in directly as glucose through foods sweetened with glucose. However, our bodies can also produce glucose themselves from many foods. For example, from staple foods such as bread, potatoes or cereals. Our body can also produce glucose from sucrose. And also from fructose, i.e. fruit sugar. However, this requires a few intermediate steps that work better for some and less well for others. This is why not everyone tolerates sucrose and fructose equally well as glucose.

Which sugar is healthier?

Countless myths surround sugar, and sometimes one, sometimes the other is presented as healthier. This is because individual aspects are considered in isolation, and also because individual tolerance varies. For example, the mineral content of brown sugar sometimes is highlighted. Compared to other foods, however, this is completely negligible. Vegetables, dairy products or even mineral water contain far more minerals than even the most mineral-rich brown sugar. Brown sugar is not healthier than white sugar. The difference does not matter at all in terms of health.

For a long time, fructose was considered the healthier alternative to sugar. It was recommended especially for diabetics. This has turned out to be a mistake: The high fructose intake of diabetics led to non-alcoholic fatty liver and other serious metabolic problems. For good reasons, therefore, the advertising of fructose as "diabetic sugar" was banned.

Dextrose can boost your energy level quickly. So if you need a short energy boost, you can consume glucose. The best long-term energy supplier is a balanced diet with fiber, proteins and vitamins. That keeps you energized for a long time.

How much fructose per day is recommended?

For completely healthy people, without fructose intolerance, maximum values of 30g-50g per day of fructose are given in the literature, above which it becomes toxic.
For people with fructose intolerance, the threshold is much lower. Some people cannot tolerate even the smallest amounts of fructose. The amount of fructose tolerated per day depends on the personal tolerance threshold. This tolerance can vary greatly, ranging from well below 1g/day to 10g/day.
Fructose intolerance can manifest itself with digestive problems, flatulence, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. These symptoms are caused by disturbances in the absorption of fructose from food into the intestinal wall. Depending on how much fructose a day is recommended for each person, the diet should be adjusted individually.

Sugars sweeten our lives. Foods with sugar are stimulants and should be enjoyed in moderation and consciously. In our online store, we provide detailed information on the fructose and sucrose content of each individual product.

More information about sugar and fructose:

- Fructose-free and low-fructose
- Sugar declaration
- Types of sugar
- Fructose intolerance
- Diet for fructose intolerance