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Can Fructose Influence Sports & Orthopaedic Injuries?

13 Oct 2014
Andrew Wynd
In my last article I talked about the role of sleep and its impact on performance, injury and general health. In this post, I am going down a similar road, but perhaps even more controversial. Firstly, I am the first to profess I have no nutritional or dietician training and I DO NOT give nutritional or medical advice outside my realm of training. Some weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a conference titled “Low Carb Downunder”, the theme of which was all about eating a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. This “Paleo” or “Banting” type diet is championed by world renowned Sports Physician, Dr. Tim Noakes and has been adopted by another colleague here in Melbourne, Dr. Peter Brukner. Both with spectacular results.

What was fascinating to learn in the conference, was how fructose is metabolised in the body, which apparently was only confirmed in 2010.

Whilst I don’t pretend to fully understand the complexity of this process, what became clear from the conference was that fructose is capable of causing an inflammatory response. Once again, whilst fructose is not discussed commonly in physical and manual therapy circles, inflammation is something very relevant to all therapists and something we likely discuss daily with our patients.

I was further surprised when orthopaedic surgeon and senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania, Mr. Gary Fettke took to the stage to discuss fructose in relation to joint disease! Gary’s opinion was that fructose was to blame for many of the joint and orthopaedic issues he faces on a daily basis.  (

We now know from Gaida et al. (2009) that Achilles tendinopathy is associated with dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. These two hallmarks of metabolic syndrome have been shown to be strongly linked with fructose consumption. So maybe is it time for all health professionals to start talking about fructose??

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