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Pamela Peeke
I've noticed that a lot of the sweets I buy in the health food store are sweetened with fruit juice, honey, or something called fructose? Are these better for me than sugar?

— K. Lehmann, NY
   Ann Coulston


Yes and No. All carbohydrates whether from sucrose, fruit juice, honey are converted through digestion and metabolism to glucose, the "sugar" that travels in the blood stream and provides necessary "energy" for all our body cells.

Fructose is a carbohydrate or "sugar" that is metabolized differently from glucose by the body. But it can be converted to glucose by the liver when it is needed for energy or contribute to the synthesis of fats for energy storage.

Sugar or sucrose is a refined carbohydrate and is purely glucose and fructose when metabolized.

Fruit juice and honey contain trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals that contribute to overall health. However, the amount of these substances utilized as a "sweetener" is very small and thus, the other nutrients aren't being added to the diet in a quantity that makes these sweeteners an improvement over sugar.


About Ann Coulston

Ann M. Coulston, M.S.,R.D., graduated from Cornell University with a master's degree in nutritional science and is a former research dietitian at Stanford University Medical Center, and a past president of both the American Dietetic Association (1998-1999) and the California Dietetic Association. Ann specializes in clinical research on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and collaborates with medical scientists in research on diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

She has been recognized for excellence in the practice of research and clinical nutrition by the American Dietetic Association Foundation, and is the recipient of the American Dietetic Association's Medallion award for leadership. The California Dietetic Association has awarded her the Distinguished Service and Outstanding Member awards.


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