GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Heres one tip for how to eat at the holidays: Dont take your cues from Santa. The sugary cookies and fat-laden fruitcakes the mythical North Pole resident eats are a no-no. But you dont have to go no-carb to stay fit at the holidays, either, University of Florida researchers say.
In fact, many dieters may actually be cutting out the wrong foods altogether, according to findings from a UF paper published recently in the European Journal of Nutrition. Dieters should focus on limiting the amount of fructose they eat instead of cutting out starchy foods such as bread, rice and potatoes, report the researchers, who propose using new dietary guidelines based on fructose to gauge how healthy foods are.
Theres a fair amount of evidence that starch-based foods dont cause weight gain like sugar-based foods and dont cause the metabolic syndrome like sugar-based foods, said Dr. Richard Johnson, the senior author of the report, which reviewed several recent studies on fructose and obesity. Potatoes, pasta, rice may be relatively safe compared to table sugar. A fructose index may be a better way to assess the risk of carbohydrates related to obesity.
Many diets -- including the low-carb variety -- are based on the glycemic index, which measures how foods affect blood glucose levels. Because starches convert to glucose in the body, these diets tend to limit foods such as rice and potatoes.
While table sugar is composed of both glucose and fructose, fructose seems to be the more dangerous part of the equation, UF researchers say. Eating too much fructose causes uric acid levels to spike, which can block the ability of insulin to regulate how body cells use and store sugar and other nutrients for energy, leading to obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, said Johnson, the division chief of nephrology and the J. Robert Cade professor of nephrology in the UF College of Medicine. UF researchers first detailed the
|Contact: April Frawley Birdwell|
University of Florida