Is fructose metabolized differently from other sugars?

This question is about Nutrition

Sarah Achleithner

Fructose is metabolized differently from other sugars. Here’s a quick breakdown of the difference between


and glucose.

  • Fructose: This monosaccharide is metabolized in the liver and is used to replenish liver glycogen and synthesize triglycerides [




    ]. While it naturally occurs in fruit, agave syrup, and honey, it can also be added to processed foods and beverages in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Foods with high fructose corn syrup include, but are not limited to, candy, sugary beverages, fast food, baked goods, sauces, bread, jams, jellies, and applesauce. As such, studies have found that a diet high in fructose (by way of added sugars) may overload the liver and increase fat deposition, which can contribute to a range of metabolic problems [



  • Glucose: Glucose is responsible for supplying energy to the brain, muscles, and other body organs and tissues [


    ]. It’s also the building block for other structural molecules in your body (such as glycoproteins and glycolipids), and is naturally found in fruits, grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and molasses. However, it can also be found in processed foods and is considered to be an added sugar when used outside of its natural state.

When it comes to sugar consumption, experts agree that all types of added sugar are more damaging than sugar naturally found in foods.

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  2. Mergenthaler, P., Lindauer, U., Dienel, G. A., & Meisel, A. (2013). Sugar for the brain: the role of glucose in physiological and pathological brain function. Trends in neurosciences, 36(10), 587–597.


  3. High fructose corn syrup. High Fructose Corn Syrup - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2022, from


  4. Rizkalla S. W. (2010). Health implications of fructose consumption: A review of recent data. Nutrition & metabolism, 7, 82.