Liberty Planet Weblog

Fructose Can Increase Your Hunger and Lead to Overeating

Posted on: January 22, 2013

By Dr. Mercola

People everywhere are finally waking up to the indisputable fact that all sugars are not created equal when it comes to the physical end results they create.

Scientists using newer functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests have now shown that fructose, a sugar found in most processed foods (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup), can in fact trigger changes in your brain that may lead to overeating and weight gain.1

The researchers discovered that when you drink a beverage containing fructose, your brain does not register the feeling of being satiated, as it does when you consume simple glucose. As reported by Yahoo! Health:2

“All sugars are not equal — even though they contain the same amount of calories — because they are metabolized differently in the body.

Table sugar is sucrose, which is half fructose, half glucose. High-fructose corn syrup is 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. Some nutrition experts say this sweetener may pose special risks, but others and the industry reject that claim. And doctors say we eat too much sugar in all forms.”

Beware: Fructose Can Make You Hungry, Study Finds

Twenty healthy adults were included in the featured study, published in the journal JAMA on January 2.3 fMRI was used to measure the hypothalamus response when the volunteers consumed a beverage containing identical amounts of either fructose or glucose (75 grams). The two drinks were given in random order to all participants during testing sessions spaced eight months apart.

Your hypothalamus helps regulate hunger-related signals involving a number of hormones, including insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. The scans revealed that when drinking glucose, within 15 minutes the activity in the area of the brain involved with reward and desire for food was suppressed, which leads to a feeling of fullness or satiety. According to co-author Dr. Robert Sherwin:4

“With fructose, we don’t see those changes. As a result, the desire to eat continues — it isn’t turned off.”

In fact, fructose not only did not suppress hypothalamic activity, it actually caused a small spike instead. Furthermore, glucose boosted the links between the hypothalamus, thalamus, and striatum, while fructose strengthened the connectivity between the hypothalamus and thalamus, but not the striatum. This is important, as the striatum also deactivates once your body senses it has eaten enough… According to the authors:

“These findings suggest that ingestion of glucose, but not fructose, initiates a coordinated response between the homeostatic-striatal network that regulates feeding behavior.”

What all this means in everyday terms is that when you consume fructose, you may actually be “programming” your body to consume more calories, as fructose fails to trigger that feeling of fullness, and may even trigger continued hunger pangs. Dr. Jonathan Purnell, an endocrinologist at Oregon Health & Science University, told Yahoo! Health:

“It implies that fructose, at least with regards to promoting food intake and weight gain, is a bad actor compared to glucose.”

Continue reading at Mercola

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