Fructose triggers brain changes that lead to overeating

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: fructose, overeating, brain changes

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(NaturalNews) New research funded in part by the U.S. government has finally proven that all those corn industry-funded commercials that claim high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the same thing as table sugar, and that your body cannot tell the difference between the two, are patently false. According to the data, fructose is metabolized differently by the body than glucose, and does not lead to the same "full" feelings as other types of sugar, which is why many people tend to over-consume it and gain weight.

The landmark study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), involved 20 young, normal-weight individuals who were given magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans both before and after consuming beverages that contained either glucose or fructose. Researchers then used the results of these scans to evaluate how each of the participants' brains responded to the different types of sugar to see if there was any disparities.

What they found was that the human brain recognizes the consumption of glucose much differently than it does fructose. As it turns out, glucose tends to satisfy hunger and food cravings upon consumption, signaling to the brain that food was eaten and that it was satisfying. Fructose, on the other hand, is not recognized in the same way, and the body basically does not know how much is too much, which tends to fuel a person's desire to continue eating without abandon.

"[Glucose] turns off or suppresses the activity of areas of the brain that are critical for reward and desire for food," explained Dr. Robert Sherwin, an endocrinologist from Yale University who helped lead the research. "[With fructose], we don't see those changes. As a result, the desire to eat continues -- it isn't turned off."

Experts conclude HFCS makes humans want to eat more than they should

This is a critically important observation, as common table sugar contains a roughly 50-50 ratio of sucrose and glucose, while HFCS is about 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. It is that five percent of fructose that the body processes differently, according to the findings, and the component believed to be most responsible for promoting obesity and triggering diabetes, which completely shatters the myth that all forms of processed sugar are the same.

"Increases in fructose consumption have paralleled the increasing prevalence of obesity, and high-fructose diets are thought to promote weight gain and insulin resistance," wrote lead author Kathleen A. Page, M.D., from Yale University and her colleagues in their report.

Adding to this sentiment, Dr. Jonathan Q. Purnell, M.D., and Dr. Damien A. Fair, Ph.D., both from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon, wrote in an accompanying editorial that when the human brain is exposed to fructose, "neurological pathways involved in appetite regulation are modulated, thereby promoting increased food intake."

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