Fructose and dextrose are two different types of sugar. Other sugars include lactose, maltose and sucrose. Different kinds of foods contain different sugars. For example, fruit contains fructose, while milk supplies lactose, maltose can be found in beer and malt whiskey, and fruits and plant saps are sources of dextrose. The latter is also referred to as glucose.
The Body's Fuel
Dextrose or glucose, the type of sugar used to measure blood sugar levels, is a primary source of energy for almost all cells of the body, including brain cells. Glucose exists at a 1 percent concentration in human blood and is the most important sugar in metabolism. The body manufactures it from carbohydrates like fruit, cereal, bread, pasta and rice.
How Sweet It Is
Fructose, the sugar that gives fruit its sweet flavor, is also present in vegetables and honey. For the past two decades fructose, in its crystalline form, has been used as a nutritive sweetener in foods and drinks. Crystalline fructose is a processed form of fructose that consists of at least 98 percent pure fructose and is estimated to be about 20 percent sweeter than table sugar.
Fructose and glucose have a lot in common. Both are simple sugars that provide cellular energy to the body. Fructose, however, does not cause insulin secretions, as glucose does. This effect can lead to higher rates of fat storage, according to one 2002 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" that notes the chance of weight gain is increased for those who consume diets that are high in fructose.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a widely used processed sweetener containing both fructose and glucose. The most used varieties include HFCS 55, which contains 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose, and HFCS 42, which contains 42 percent fructose and 53 percent glucose. Many health concerns surround high fructose corn syrup. The Huffington Post cites research from the University of Oxford and the University of Southern California that found a 20 percent increased incidence of type-2 diabetes in counties where HFCS was used throughout the food supply. In general, diets high in sugar, regardless of the type, should be avoided for good health.
- Dictionary.com: What Are the Differences Among Fructose, Glucose, Lactose, Maltose, and Sucrose?
- MedlinePlus: Glucose Test - Blood
- Georgia State University: Glucose
- Fructose Information Center
- Los Angeles Times: Is Crystalline Fructose a Better Choice of Sweetener?
- University of Maryland: Study - Not Enough Evidence to Indict High Fructose Corn Syrup in Obesity
- Huffington Post: High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption Linked With Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence
- Medbio: Carbohydrate Metabolism
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Fructose, Weight Gain, and the Insulin Resistance Syndrome