Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

fructose, also called fruit sugar or levulose, is a monosaccharide. It is most commonly found in fruit (particularly apples, cantaloupes, pears, pomegranates, watermelon, and berries), but also occurs in animal tissues, tree saps (maple syrup), vegetables, and honey. Fructose is the sweetest sugar found in nature, about 1.7 times sweeter than glucose. See glucose.

When chemically combined with glucose, fructose forms sucrose, or common table sugar, a disaccharide that consists of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. See sugar. During metabolism, fructose is broken down and converted into glucose, which is used for energy or stored as fat. Unlike glucose, which is metabolized widely in the body, fructose is mainly metabolized in the liver.