Fructose Can Contribute to Obesity


A new study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to capture the blood flow in the brain after the subjects ingested drinks containing two types of sugar. It’s goal was to determine if a difference existed between how the body processes different types of sugar. First they evaluated 20 young people after they drank a beverage with a high fructose content. In a second session, they evaluated the brain’s reaction in these same, normal weight participants, to determine how a beverage with high glucose content impacted the brain. The scientists found that consuming glucose led to feelings of satiety, in which centers of the brain responsible for creating desire for food were switched off after taking in sugar calories. The important note is that when the subjects consumed the same amount of fructose, this region of the brain was unaffected, and subjects continued to feel hungry. In laymen’s terms, this means that when people consume sugar in the form of fructose, they continue to feel hungry, and may overeat, which could lead to obesity. Experts suspect this correlation may play a large role in the association between the widespread increase in use of high-fructose sweeteners in the 1970’s that paralleled an increase in weights across the United States. In present-day America, over two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight, and a third of all children and teens fall into the same category.

Table sugar is made of sucrose which is equal parts fructose and glucose. High-fructose corn syrup contains more fructose than glucose in a ratio of 55% to 45%. Endocrinologist Dr. Jonathan Purnell recommends cutting back on the amount of food and beverages you consume that contain high amounts of fructose and high fructose corn syrup to minimize risk of obesity. Yet other researchers, and those in the sweetener industry disagree with the study’s findings, and Purnell’s recommendation. A second study, also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, says that it is only morbid obesity that poses a health risk, while slight obesity actually increase a person’s longevity. However, many critics disagree, and emphasize that obesity is always a health risk. More research, especially to determine if overweight people have the same response to ingesting glucose and fructose, is required to further explain the relationship between high-fructose consumption, and widening Americans’ waistlines.

Source courtesy of The Huffington Post. Image courtesy of Think Progress.

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