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fructose, beets, sweet potatoes

by (3509)
Updated about 8 hours ago
Created February 16, 2011 at 8:44 PM

I know many paleo followers are concerned with the fructose content of most fruits. I wonder why is it that some people who are very concerned with fructose do accept vegetables as sweet potatoes or beets whose sugar content is high and is mostly sucrose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose We know that sucrose is 50% fructose so I do not find it very consistent to be worried about the fructose content of most fruits and then freely embracing other foods with high sucrose content, since sucrose is 50% fructose. Am I missing something?

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11478 · September 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Did current Travis downvote past Travis for giving out poor advice?

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17136 · September 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Don't forget other processed foods and beverages with artificial chemical sweeteners, and those sweetened with fake natural/organic sweeteners such as Agave Syrup, which really is something like 85% pure fructose.

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17136 · September 27, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Because when we start to take natural things, such as fruits, veggies, meats apart into specific components and throw away the rest, we assume that what we are doing is extracting the active ingredient, so it can be patented, or mass produced through other means. Reality works differently than this, however. We are not evolved to eat tons of pure fructose, we are evolved to eat what we ate for hundreds of thousands of years to millions of years, so there's a huge difference between a can of soda and an apple.

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5381 · July 04, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Just look at fruitatarians, they are all skinny as. But, look at their liver/organ fat, and youll see a different story

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5381 · July 04, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Fructose, must be processed in the liver and turns into organ fat (aka belly fat). The fructose issue IMO is really little to do with GI/GL, or weight gain per se (you can gain weight on any high amount of sugar, fructose, glucose, or sucrose) and more to do with how it overloads the livers triglyceride storage etc. Its more of an internal health issue in my mind.

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4059 · January 10, 2012 at 12:47 AM

Damn. I thought this was hilarious: "I recommend they continue to shop at Sam's club and push their sleds of inflammation around." Hoot!

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5516 · August 24, 2011 at 7:30 PM

hillarious update

Medium avatar
10190 · August 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

It puzzles me that the paleo community pays so little attention to glycemic load and index. Everything about hormonal imbalance and insulin you'd want to know, lots on triglycerides and liver function, but nothing much on these empirical tools. GL and GI are not perfect - fructose rates a lower value than glucose, and candy bars come in with values lower than most fruits - but building a diet around low GI will steer you away from eating processed grains and sugars just as effectively as paleo does. And GL/GI put numerical values to the argument against.

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39841 · August 24, 2011 at 12:52 AM

I'd like to say that current Travis disagrees with past Travis and eats a not insubstantial amount of sweet potato with nearly every meal.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers in this case. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only shows fructose and sucrose numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers for fructose and sucrose. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only shows fructose and sucrose numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers for fructose and sucrose. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only gives those numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers for calculating the amount of fructose. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only gives those numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. However I don't think we can rely on the numbers in the Wikipedia table. The table claims its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the database doesn't contain those numbers. (If I'm overlooking them, please, somebody point them out.)

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but there seems to be a problem with the numbers in the Wikipedia table. Wikipedia says the numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact those numbers don't appear in the USDA database.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. In fact, though, the USDA database does *not* give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia, and USDA doesn't back Wikipedia up. If anyone can resolve the discrepancy or find numbers from USDA or some other authoritative source -- peer reviewed studies, lab results, textbooks, etc. -- that would be great.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia, and USDA doesn't back Wikipedia up. If anyone can resolve the discrepancy or find numbers from USDA or some other authoritative source -- peer reviewed studies, lab results, textbooks, etc. -- that would be great.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia, and USDA doesn't back Wikipedia up. We have to look at USDA itself or some other real authority -- peer reviewed studies, certified lab results, textbooks, etc.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia. We have to look at USDA itself or some other real authority -- peer reviewed studies, certified lab results, textbooks, etc.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia. We have to look at USDA itself or some other real authority -- peer reviewed studies, certified lab results, textbooks, etc.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but we don't know how much is sucrose and how much is fructose. The Wikipedia table is not credible because it claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. But if you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM

There's no doubt that red beets contain a lot of sugar, but there is a problem with the numbers in the Wikipedia table. The table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I don't think we should rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM

There's no doubt that red beets contain a lot of sugar, but I can't find authoritative data for the amounts of sucrose and fructose. The Wikipedia table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I don't think we should rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:17 PM

We should expect red beets to contain lots of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets, but Wikipedia isn't an authoritative source. Credible numbers come from places like peer-reviewed studies or the USDA database. The Wikipedia table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I would not rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

The Wikipedia table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I would not rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:58 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. The Wikipedia table is improperly sourced. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database doesn't include fructose or sucrose numbers for any kind of beet.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:55 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. Before we draw conclusions based on the Wikipedia table, I think we should look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:54 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, I think we have to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:14 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. (Continued...)

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. I urge you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself. You will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. I urge you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself. You will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets, but we can't rely on the Wikipedia table's numbers. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database contains no numbers for the amounts of sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. It's possible that the person who compiled this table used an earlier edition of the database and that these numbers were removed from the current edition. But it's also possible that compiler made a mistake. Since we don't know, we can't rely on the numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:02 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But there is a problem with the Wikipedia table. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database contains no numbers for the amounts of sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. It's possible that the person who compiled this table used an earlier edition of the database, and that these numbers were removed from the current edition. But it's also possible that compiler made a mistake. Since we don't know, we can't rely on the numbers.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 10:59 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But there is something wrong with the Wikipedia table. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database contains no numbers for the amounts of sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. Improperly sourced numbers can't be trusted. When I wrote my answer yesterday I searched the web for an hour looking for sucrose/fructose numbers for beets. Couldn't find any. If someone finds a real source, I'd love to know.

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3509 · February 18, 2011 at 1:03 AM

according to the table I quote in my post, red beets contain 6.5 grams of sucrose and 0.1 grams of free fructose per 100 gram that would make about 3.3 grams of fructose per 100 grams. Worse than grapefruits and strawberries, slightly better than cantaloupes and watermelons...

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18412 · February 18, 2011 at 12:03 AM

i disagree Brad. Dr B is just stating what works for (him/her?) and that avoiding fruits is not a blanket requirement for all. he is healthy and is putting his story out there that fruit does not cause him to gain weight, even in fairly high quantities. Dr B.- you might not know the effects it has on your actual health though. maybe there are other metabolic functions occurring that will be troublesome for you at some point. regular consumption of excess fructose is known to cause a myriad of health issues, but at least you are eating whole fruits instead of HFCS and juices.

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5838 · February 17, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Good stuff. Thanks for this chart.

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1982 · February 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM

"However, if a 350 lb. typical American came to me for advice I wouldnt recommend they consume that high amount of fruits. I recommend they continue to shop at Sam's club and push their sleds of inflammation around." A good number of people who make it to this site are exactly that: obese people searching for better health and advice. This kind of snarky response is just irreesponsible, but perhaps you were just kidding. If not, I hope you can adopt and attitude of helpfulness, instead of self-righteousness about your own good health.

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22913 · February 16, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Curious how that affects you liver, AGEs, etc. And your activity level.

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39841 · February 16, 2011 at 9:56 PM

That's interesting; was that fruit intake concomitant with fat loss, or just fat maintenance? Additionally, what kind of activity level do you have?

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22913 · February 16, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Yup I vehemently post against fructose, yet the Ocassional sweet potato or berries, no worries. High sugar candy bars from a tree, pass.

Medium avatar
39841 · February 16, 2011 at 9:55 PM

That's interesting; was that fruit intake concomitant with fat loss, or just fat maintenance?

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11 Answers

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
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4883 · February 17, 2011 at 8:36 PM

I wonder why is it that some people who are very concerned with fructose do accept vegetables as sweet potatoes or beets whose sugar content is high and is mostly sucrose...

Am I missing something?

Yes, you're missing the fact that sweet potatoes have less fructose than almost all fruits.

You have to look at the actual numbers.

To calculate the total amount of fructose, we add half the sucrose to the free fructose.

    Sucrose / 2 + free fructose = total fructose

Here's how we apply that formula to sweet potatoes. According to the USDA database, sweet potatoes contain 2.52 g sucrose and 0.70 g free fructose per 100 g. Here's the arithmetic.

    2.52/2 + 0.70 = 1.96

This means sweet potatoes contain 1.96 g of total fructose per 100 g.

This is less total fructose than almost any common fruit. The only common commercial fruits that contain less total fructose are cranberries and limes, and people don't like to eat them because they are sour.

Let's put sweet potatoes in perspective by comparing them with fruits. The numbers show total fructose g per 100 g.

    FOOD          TOTAL FRUCTOSE
    ----------------------------
    Apricots           3.87
    Apples             6.93
    Bananas            6.04
    Blueberries        5.02
    Cantaloupe         4.04
    Cherries           5.44
    Grapefruit         3.02
    Grapes             8.20
    Kiwi               4.42
    Mangos             7.16
    Papayas            3.73
    Pears              6.62
    Pineapple          5.11
    Raspberries        2.45
    Strawberries       2.73
    SWEET POTATOES     1.96
    Watermelon         3.90

Sweet potatoes don't look so bad now, do they? :)

The reason I didn't mention beets in this answer is because I can't find data anywhere on the web about its sugar composition. (I'm talking about red beets, the kind that people eat. Plenty of info is available about sugar beets, but that's a different thing.)

Source: USDA database

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia. We have to look at USDA itself or some other real authority -- peer reviewed studies, certified lab results, textbooks, etc.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · February 18, 2011 at 1:03 AM

according to the table I quote in my post, red beets contain 6.5 grams of sucrose and 0.1 grams of free fructose per 100 gram that would make about 3.3 grams of fructose per 100 grams. Worse than grapefruits and strawberries, slightly better than cantaloupes and watermelons...

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. I urge you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself. You will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers in this case. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only shows fructose and sucrose numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

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5838 · February 17, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Good stuff. Thanks for this chart.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but we don't know how much is sucrose and how much is fructose. The Wikipedia table is not credible because it claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. But if you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. In fact, though, the USDA database does *not* give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia, and USDA doesn't back Wikipedia up. If anyone can resolve the discrepancy or find numbers from USDA or some other authoritative source -- peer reviewed studies, lab results, textbooks, etc. -- that would be great.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but there seems to be a problem with the numbers in the Wikipedia table. Wikipedia says the numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact those numbers don't appear in the USDA database.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers for fructose and sucrose. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only shows fructose and sucrose numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:14 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. (Continued...)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 18, 2011 at 10:59 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But there is something wrong with the Wikipedia table. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database contains no numbers for the amounts of sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. Improperly sourced numbers can't be trusted. When I wrote my answer yesterday I searched the web for an hour looking for sucrose/fructose numbers for beets. Couldn't find any. If someone finds a real source, I'd love to know.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia. We have to look at USDA itself or some other real authority -- peer reviewed studies, certified lab results, textbooks, etc.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:17 PM

We should expect red beets to contain lots of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets, but Wikipedia isn't an authoritative source. Credible numbers come from places like peer-reviewed studies or the USDA database. The Wikipedia table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I would not rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not a reliable reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. I urge you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself. You will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia, and USDA doesn't back Wikipedia up. If anyone can resolve the discrepancy or find numbers from USDA or some other authoritative source -- peer reviewed studies, lab results, textbooks, etc. -- that would be great.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:58 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. The Wikipedia table is improperly sourced. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database doesn't include fructose or sucrose numbers for any kind of beet.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM

There's no doubt that red beets contain a lot of sugar, but I can't find authoritative data for the amounts of sucrose and fructose. The Wikipedia table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I don't think we should rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

The Wikipedia table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I would not rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. However I don't think we can rely on the numbers in the Wikipedia table. The table claims its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the database doesn't contain those numbers. (If I'm overlooking them, please, somebody point them out.)

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers for calculating the amount of fructose. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only gives those numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, we need to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you to go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:02 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But there is a problem with the Wikipedia table. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database contains no numbers for the amounts of sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. It's possible that the person who compiled this table used an earlier edition of the database, and that these numbers were removed from the current edition. But it's also possible that compiler made a mistake. Since we don't know, we can't rely on the numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:54 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. When we read the Wikipedia table, I think we have to look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Red beets certainly contain a lot of sugar. This shouldn't surprise us because they belong to the same species as sugar beets from which sugar is extracted. But I don't think we can trust Wikipedia's numbers for fructose and sucrose. Wikipedia claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. However, I checked the USDA database and those numbers aren't there. USDA doesn't give any fructose/sucrose numbers for raw red beets. It only gives those numbers for a type of canned red beet, and those numbers (sucrose 5.25, fructose 0.20) don't match Wikipedia's.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM

There's no doubt that red beets contain a lot of sugar, but there is a problem with the numbers in the Wikipedia table. The table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database but in fact the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose or fructose in any kind of beets. Until this discrepancy is explained I don't think we should rely on the Wikipedia numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Beets certainly contain a lot of sugar, but the numbers for sucrose and fructose in the Wikipedia table are not credible because the table claims that the numbers come from the USDA database. If you check the USDA database, you will see that in fact it does not give numbers for the amounts of fructose and sucrose in beets. The authority here is USDA, not Wikipedia, and USDA doesn't back Wikipedia up. We have to look at USDA itself or some other real authority -- peer reviewed studies, certified lab results, textbooks, etc.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets, but we can't rely on the Wikipedia table's numbers. It claims that its numbers come from the USDA database, but in fact the USDA database contains no numbers for the amounts of sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets. It's possible that the person who compiled this table used an earlier edition of the database and that these numbers were removed from the current edition. But it's also possible that compiler made a mistake. Since we don't know, we can't rely on the numbers.

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4883 · February 18, 2011 at 11:55 AM

We should expect red beets to contain a lot of sugar because they belong to the same species as sugar beets. But Wikipedia is not an authoritative reference. Before we draw conclusions based on the Wikipedia table, I think we should look at the note at the bottom that says where the data came from and check the numbers for ourselves. In this case, the table claims that its numbers come from the USDA database. If you go to the USDA database and check the numbers for yourself, you will see that in fact, the USDA database does not give numbers for sucrose and fructose in any kind of beets.

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39841 · February 16, 2011 at 9:00 PM

It is my belief that even the small amount of fructose in sweet potatoes will work against a person attempting to lose fat. This is not to say that this creates an insuperable barrier to fat loss however, simply that it would make things more difficult than the equivalent number of grams of russet potato, for example.

That being said, sweet potatoes are a nutrient-rich food that would likely be a wise addition to the diet of a person not as interested in losing fat.

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39841 · August 24, 2011 at 12:52 AM

I'd like to say that current Travis disagrees with past Travis and eats a not insubstantial amount of sweet potato with nearly every meal.

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5516 · August 24, 2011 at 7:30 PM

hillarious update

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11478 · September 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Did current Travis downvote past Travis for giving out poor advice?

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248 · February 16, 2011 at 9:37 PM

I am a little perturbed by all this negative fructose information and reserach that is out there. I know each individual responds differently, but I personally have been eating 5-8 servings of fruit A DAY for about 4 years. Of course there is the occasional day I eat less than that. Combined with the lean grass fed meats, wild fish, fre range chicken and copious amounts of fats and veggies I eat, I continue to be incredibly lean and shredded. I see no discernible negative effect all these fruits have on me. My performance and function continues to increase.

However, if a 350 lb. typical American came to me for advice I wouldnt recommend they consume that high amount of fruits. I recommend they continue to shop at Sam's club and push their sleds of inflammation around.

To answer your questions Travis and Steve: Travis, the fruit intake definitely coincided with fat loss. My activity consist of crossfit 4-5 times a week and occasional outdoor activities on a weekened. Not sure how it affects my AGEs; I rarely cook with high heat and I eat foods that are known to inhibit AEGs so that might help with the increased fructose consumption. But who knows?! There is conflicting evidence for just about anything out there. Bottom line is I feel great, perform great and am lean as possible. Is there disease and inflammation within my body? Perhaps. All we can do it try to cut down the risks factors by eating this way.

For about 4 weeks I had this healthy ( or was it unhealthy?!) obsession with bananas and almond butter to the point where I was eating, on average, 4 bananas a day just about every day. Noticed little summin summin but perhaps that was from the increased almond butter consumption. Cut down bananas recently as per the latest information on saponins. If I consume it is typically pre or post workout. Plantains are now on my list for awesome post wod carbs. Saute it with some coconut oil or olive oil, maybe even add some coconut flakes and cinnamon or cocoa. Heaven.

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22913 · February 16, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Curious how that affects you liver, AGEs, etc. And your activity level.

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18412 · February 18, 2011 at 12:03 AM

i disagree Brad. Dr B is just stating what works for (him/her?) and that avoiding fruits is not a blanket requirement for all. he is healthy and is putting his story out there that fruit does not cause him to gain weight, even in fairly high quantities. Dr B.- you might not know the effects it has on your actual health though. maybe there are other metabolic functions occurring that will be troublesome for you at some point. regular consumption of excess fructose is known to cause a myriad of health issues, but at least you are eating whole fruits instead of HFCS and juices.

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39841 · February 16, 2011 at 9:56 PM

That's interesting; was that fruit intake concomitant with fat loss, or just fat maintenance? Additionally, what kind of activity level do you have?

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39841 · February 16, 2011 at 9:55 PM

That's interesting; was that fruit intake concomitant with fat loss, or just fat maintenance?

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1982 · February 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM

"However, if a 350 lb. typical American came to me for advice I wouldnt recommend they consume that high amount of fruits. I recommend they continue to shop at Sam's club and push their sleds of inflammation around." A good number of people who make it to this site are exactly that: obese people searching for better health and advice. This kind of snarky response is just irreesponsible, but perhaps you were just kidding. If not, I hope you can adopt and attitude of helpfulness, instead of self-righteousness about your own good health.

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4059 · January 10, 2012 at 12:47 AM

Damn. I thought this was hilarious: "I recommend they continue to shop at Sam's club and push their sleds of inflammation around." Hoot!

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30 · August 24, 2011 at 12:27 AM

The sugars found in most fruits are NOT equivalent to processed sugars. It's all about insulin response. If you don't understand the glycemic loads in foods you are missing a critical piece of the puzzle.

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10190 · August 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

It puzzles me that the paleo community pays so little attention to glycemic load and index. Everything about hormonal imbalance and insulin you'd want to know, lots on triglycerides and liver function, but nothing much on these empirical tools. GL and GI are not perfect - fructose rates a lower value than glucose, and candy bars come in with values lower than most fruits - but building a diet around low GI will steer you away from eating processed grains and sugars just as effectively as paleo does. And GL/GI put numerical values to the argument against.

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5381 · July 04, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Just look at fruitatarians, they are all skinny as. But, look at their liver/organ fat, and youll see a different story

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5381 · July 04, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Fructose, must be processed in the liver and turns into organ fat (aka belly fat). The fructose issue IMO is really little to do with GI/GL, or weight gain per se (you can gain weight on any high amount of sugar, fructose, glucose, or sucrose) and more to do with how it overloads the livers triglyceride storage etc. Its more of an internal health issue in my mind.

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1485 · February 16, 2011 at 8:55 PM

I think the same people who would advocate the occasional sweet potato would also have no problem with occasional fruit. I've not noticed any inconsistency. I myself have pointed out at times that sugars from fruit are no healthier than sugars from any other sources. I did not caveat that by including sweet potatoes in the discussion, but that wasn't the topic at the time.

However, if you look at the data in the wikipedia article, the sugar/100g of sweet potato is 1/2 to 1/3 what is in most of the fruits on the list. I think that's why it's chosen as a good post-workout carb source.

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22913 · February 16, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Yup I vehemently post against fructose, yet the Ocassional sweet potato or berries, no worries. High sugar candy bars from a tree, pass.

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10 · September 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

For me all we have to avoid are those processed foods and beverages with fructose. If we keep on eating those foods plus fruits and beverages with fructose that means we are overloading ourselves with to much fructose and it is bad for our health.

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17136 · September 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Don't forget other processed foods and beverages with artificial chemical sweeteners, and those sweetened with fake natural/organic sweeteners such as Agave Syrup, which really is something like 85% pure fructose.

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10 · July 04, 2012 at 11:58 AM

I have problems digesting fructose (I get an upset stomach and bloat badly) regardless of the source. I stay away from a lot of fruits but have not noticed much of a problem with many vegetables or root tubers.

Note that I have absolutely no reaction to regular sugar/sucrose yet I can take one sip in a blindfolded test to tell you if a drink had HFCS in it or not.

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10 · January 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM

All very informative. I wonder why somethings that are supposed to be healthy for you i.e. emergen C has to have fructose and sugar cane in it or has to have fructose at all. Kim!

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17136 · September 27, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Because when we start to take natural things, such as fruits, veggies, meats apart into specific components and throw away the rest, we assume that what we are doing is extracting the active ingredient, so it can be patented, or mass produced through other means. Reality works differently than this, however. We are not evolved to eat tons of pure fructose, we are evolved to eat what we ate for hundreds of thousands of years to millions of years, so there's a huge difference between a can of soda and an apple.

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8979 · August 24, 2011 at 2:50 PM

It seems to me that it is harder to overeat on vegetables like beets or carrots than on a potato. They can be difficult to digest, and for us at least, that is the limiting factor, not the amount or type of sugar (although the type of sugar may affect the digestability - seems like there are a few more fructose-digestion problems as we age).

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2427 · February 17, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Fructose is much less a problem if it is delivered in its natural fibre packaging.

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681 · February 22, 2013 at 12:57 AM

Most of the carbs in sweet potatoes is starch, which breaks down to pure glucose. Fruits generally don't have much starch. If you calculated the ratio of fructose to total carbs for sweet potato, it would be very small compared to that of fruits.

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