A very interesting study recently released by UCLA identified interesting new pathways in which dietary fructose actually damages genes. This damage may help lead to the development of many chronic conditions seen today such as diabetes, ADHD and cardiovascular disease.
Fructose, a naturally occurring sugar most commonly found in plants, is highly consumed in current American diets due to its use as a cheap sweetener in processed food and drinks (in the form of high fructose corn syrup/HFCS). Consuming fructose through fruit eating is not thought to be as problematic due to the fruit's fibre helping to slow down the release of the sugar into the blood (not to mention the amount of sugar is lower). (Fruit juice is another question - a concentrated amount of fructose, without fibre, entering the body - not good). Fruit also has important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which further help to prevent the development of disease processes.
The really fascinating part of this study was the impact DHA had on this genetic damage. DHA is an essential fatty acid. Although it occurs in the cell membranes of brain cells we cannot make it ourselves - we must get it from our diets. This is a real problem in traditional Western diets where the intake of DHA is low (and certainly responsible for the exacerbation of disease processes relating to both mental and physical health).
DHA has many roles in the body such as enhancing memory, learning and strengthening the nervous system. This fascinating study showed that DHA pushed the gene patterns (which had been damaged by fructose) back to normal! This is beyond important when we understand how the dysregulation of gene expression leads to diseases of all sorts.
DHA is most abundant in oily fish such as wild (not farmed) salmon, sardines, herring, pilchards, trout and mackerel. It can be found in plant based foods such as leafy greens, walnuts and flaxseeds but there is no denying that animal sources are far richer - DHA can be up to 100 times more available in fish. This is one of the reasons why I am an ovopescavegan (if that is a word!): I believe a diet without fish is simply not as healthy. Supplementing the diet with DHA oils is highly advisable. Check the actual dose of DHA per capsule when you buy it - don't be fooled by low prices.
Another important step in enhancing DHA action in the body is to ensure your diet is not overabundant in omega 6 fatty acids...but that is a whole other blog.
The bottom line remains: eat whole foods, avoid processed foods, drink water and limit fruit to three pieces a day - focus on vegetables.
For more information about the study follow the link: