Fructose Knowledge Encyclopedia

Fructose Knowledge Encyclopedia


Carbohydrates have been an integral part of the human diet since time immemorial. Cereals and tubers provided complex carbohydrates, while honey, fruits and vegetables provided simple sugars such as glucose and fructose. As methods of refining table sugar from sugar cane and sugar beet developed, the relative share of glucose and fructose in the diet increased.

Contrary to recent announcements, the introduction of fructose syrups [also known as high fructose glucose syrup (HFCS) or isoglucose] in the last quarter of the 20th century changed the ratios of simple sugars to complex sugars very little. , or glucose fructose. Why ? Because HFCS and sucrose have almost the same composition, and HFCS has simply replaced sucrose in many applications on a one-to-one basis.

Pure crystalline fructose began to be available 20 years ago, and was first touted for its nutritional benefits. Pure crystalline fructose had an insignificant impact on the carbohydrate composition of the diet, due to its relatively small volume of production compared to other natural sugars, starches, syrups and sweeteners produced.
Pure crystalline fructose and sweeteners containing fructose are recommended by food scientists because they possess functional properties in addition to their intrinsic sweetness, making their use in food and beverages more attractive. drinks.


Pure crystallized fructose is a product from the corn or sugar sectors. For the first, starch is extracted from corn kernels and, after several production steps, the glucose is enzymatically transformed into fructose. For the second, there is enzymatic hydrolysis of sucrose and release of glucose and fructose. In both processes, the fructose is then crystallized, dried, ground to obtain the desired particle size and packaged. The product obtained is very white and has a very high purity.


The composition of pure crystalline fructose is described in the Food Chemicals Codex¹
Fructose: ³ 98.0% and £ 102.0%, after drying
Arsenic: £ 1 mg/kg
Chloride: £ 0.018%
Glucose: £ 0.5%
Heavy metals (such as Pb): £ 5 mg/kg
Hydroxymethylfurfural: £ 0.1%, dry matter
Lead: £ 0.1 mg/kg
Loss on drying: £ 0.5%
Residues on combustion: £ 0.5%
Sulfate: £ 0.025%

In the European Union (EU), Pure Crystalline Fructose is listed in the Codex Standard for Type 1 Sugars – CODEX STAN 212-1999(Amd. 1-2001)2, as well as Council Directive 2001/111/ EC which concerns certain sugars intended for human consumption³. In either case, the requirements for purified, crystallized D-fructose are as follows:

Fructose: ³ 98.0%, m/m
Glucose: £ 0.5%, m/m

Crystallized fructose is different from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

The public, the press and even some scientists confuse crystallized fructose with HFCS. They are not the same products. While many people correctly believe that pure crystal fructose contains only fructose, they will be surprised to learn that HFCS contains almost the same amount of glucose and fructose (it is similar to sucrose). This difference in composition is chemically significant, and leads to differences in certain food applications and specific physiological responses.


Sucrose and HFCS have long been considered and recognized as safe for humans (GRAS). As an important component of these 2 sweeteners, the food safety of fructose has been scrupulously verified through several authoritative scientific journals:

  • Established safe status (1983) 4— reviewed by the FDA primarily as a component of HFCS.
  • Sugars Mission Report (1986) 5— reviewed by the FDA for all natural and added sugars
  • The Benefits of the Fructose Diet (1993) 6— reviewed by an ILSI expert panel for all natural and added dietary sources.
  • Safe Status Reaffirmed (1996) 7— reviewed by FDA for all sources added.

The FDA concluded, “HFCS is as safe in the diet as sucrose, glucose syrup, invert sugar.” ILSI experts concluded, “Fructose is a valuable dietary energy source and traditional food, and there is therefore no reason to recommend an increase or a decrease in its use in standard food products or for specific dietary use” 8
The World Health Organization and the United Nations via the FAO have concomitantly established that the consumption of sugars is not a causative factor of any disease, including obesity. They specifically stated:

  • “A lot of controversy revolves around the involvement of sugars and starch derivatives in cases of obesity. There is no direct proof of the involvement of these carbohydrates in the etiology of obesity, based on the data provided by various studies carried out in rich countries.


  • Sucrose and other sugars have not been directly implicated in the etiology of diabetes and the recommendations concerning their consumption relate mainly to the fact that all foods rich in calories should be avoided in order to reduce the phenomenon of obesity.

Unsubstantiated allegations

Recent unsubstantiated claims suggest that fructose is solely responsible for the current obesity crisis in the United States. These claims – such as increased fat production or increased appetite – are based on unscientific experimental models with little relevance to the human diet. Indeed, significant and physiologically unsuitable levels of Fructose as the sole source of ingested carbohydrate are tested on animals which prove to be a model that is very unrepresentative of human metabolism. The results of these excessive diets are predictably extreme and are reviewed in detail in Forbes ,

Meeting consumer needs

Recent studies by the Calorie Control Council show that more than 180 million adult Americans are incorporating low-calorie, or sugar-free foods and beverages into their diets for better living. As consumers increasingly want healthy foods, the need for a wider variety of calorie-reduced products will continue to grow. Through its unique sweetening power and its functionalities, Fructose can contribute to meeting these needs.

Fructose has been used in many categories of food and beverage products such as nutrition bars, chewy cookies, juice concentrates and low energy products.

Some even advocate the use of fructose for people with special diets or special nutritional needs, such as athletes.


  • Sweetness: Fructose has the highest sweetness of all natural sugars. It is approximately 1.5 times sweeter than sucrose in most food applications.
  • Flavor enhancer: the perception of its sweetness intensity is immediate, highlighting the fruity notes.
  • Synergy: The interactions of fructose with other sweeteners or with starchy compounds develop synergistic effects that can increase the sweetness, the volume of a cake or the viscosity of a food product or a drink.
  • Storage stability: Fructose does not hydrolyze under acidic conditions as sugar does. This is why the sweetness and aromatics of the finished product remain stable for a long time.
  • Solubility and resistance to crystallization: even sold in crystalline form, Fructose has difficulty recrystallizing once it is dissolved in food. This property makes it possible to develop soft cookie recipes.
  • Humectance: Fructose binds and retains moisture so well that it can replace sorbitol or glycerin in food products, and thus improve the taste; It is conventionally used in bars with low moisture content
  • Maillard reaction: one of the main attractions of cooked or roasted food products is their brown surface appearance created by the chemical reaction between reducing sugars and amino acids. Fructose is the most reactive sugar in terms of the Maillard reaction.
  • Frozen products: Fructose maintains the integrity of frozen fruits by controlling the migration of water and preventing the formation of ice crystals which can destroy the walls of the fruits.
  • Glycemic Index/Insulin Release: The glycemic index is considered a means of assessing a food’s compatibility with the specific needs of people with diabetes. Fructose has a low glycemic index and thus allows a moderate release of insulin into the blood system compared to glucose and sucrose.
  • Dental cavities: the only health risk when consuming nutritious sweeteners is that of developing cavities. Fructose is one of the least cariogenic sugars.

The main applications for crystalline fructose are powdered drinks, low-calorie products, flavored waters, carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, energy and sports drinks, chocolate milks, breakfast cereals, cookies, yogurts, and fruit applications, confectionery.


Fructose and High Fructose Glucose Syrup (HCFS) are two different products. Fructose is sweeter than sucrose, so less is needed to achieve the same sweetness, resulting in a calorie reduction. Fructose has a low glycemic index and does not cause sudden changes in blood sugar levels. Pure Crystal Fructose offers many functional benefits when added to a wide range of foods and beverages, improving flavor and product stability.

  1. Office of Food and Nutrition of the United States National Academy of Sciences  Food Chemicals Codex, 5th Edition.
  2. Joint Food Program of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission. 
  3. Office of the European Union Official Journal of the European Community. December 20, 2001.
  4. Federal Register Office, National Archives and Records Administration, US Government Printing Office Federal Register, 1983; 48(27):5715.
  5. Glinsmann WH, Irausquin H, Park YK. Evaluation of the health aspects contained in sweetening carbohydrates Report on the strength of sugar, 1986. J Nutr, 1986; 116:1/S.
  6. Forbes AL, Bowman BA, Filer LJ, Glinsmann WH, White JS. The benefits of a Fructose diet. AJCN, 1993; 58(5S).
  7. Food and Drug Administration, HFCS Code of Federal Regulations. Washington, DC: US ​​Government Printing Office; Federal Register, 1996; 61(165):43447 (21CFR 184.1866).
  8. Glinsmann WH, Bowman BA. The importance of Fructose for public health. AJCN, 1993; 58(5S):820S.
  9. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. Carbohydrates in nutrition (FAO Food and Nutrition Paper – 66). Chapter 3 – Carbohydrate Diet and Disease Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation Report, Rome, April 14-18, 1997.


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