Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Fructose helps bats metabolize alcohol.

Moreover, when the ethanol level in food rose, the fruit bats preferred food
rich in fructose over glucose-rich aliments. Surprisingly, the fruit bats chose
food rich in sucrose (formed by a molecule of fructose and one of glucose) above
either of the other two sugars. Even if just the fructose decreased alcohol
toxicity for Egyptian fruit bats, they perceived both fructose and sucrose as
good. "We think that this observation may be due to a matter of taste or
flavor", explained Sanchez. "The perception of sweetness versus bitterness may
vary according the type of sugar and the amount of ethanol consumed. The
combination of sucrose and ethanol may just have tasted better than either
ethanol and fructose, or ethanol and glucose".


I think I've got this one covered. Fruit bats look for dense calorie sources. Bats are high energy creatures, with all that flying; calories need to be dense. Fructose helps with alcohol; so it makes sense they prefer it to glucose. Glucose plus fructose means faster uptake of dietary sugar vs glucose or fructose alone. Sucrose vs fructose intake doesn't actually slow down the rate at which fructose hits the liver much, so the need for calories trumps the need for fructose to handle the alcohol in the diet.

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