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Fructose may spur overeating, claims study

Lia Grainger
Shine On
January 3, 2013

Listen up, soda guzzlers. Researchers have discovered another reason why you should consume less pop and other high fructose products.

According to The Independent, scientists have learned that fructose doesn’t send a message to your brain to stop eating the way glucose does, so you keep on guzzling and munching.

“While fructose intake goes relatively undetected, glucose consumption significantly reduces food consumption by appetite suppression,” explains Khosrow Adeli, a professor of clinical biochemistry specializing in obesity and diabetes at the University of Toronto.

Adeli, who was not involved in the study, says the findings appears consistent with previous research related to the effects of fructose consumption.

“This may have important implications in total calorie intake in individuals consuming high fructose foods or drinks during meals,” says Adeli.

Also see: Being moderately overweight might lower your risk of death: study

Glucose is the sugar that occurs when your body breaks down carbohydrates, while fructose is the sugar that occurs naturally in fruits.

The unfortunate reality is that fructose is rather hard to avoid. Two of the most common sweeteners, white sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup, are a mix of both glucose and fructose. White sugar is a 50/50 mix and high fructose corn syrup is a 45/55 mix.

“All added sugars contain glucose and fructose — what we need to do is limit our consumption overall,” says Karine Levy, a Montreal-based registered dietician.

Previous studies have shown that our bodies process glucose and fructose differently.

In one study, subjects that were given fructose-rich beverages with their meals over a 12-week period showed changes in their liver function and fat deposits. They were also were less sensitive to insulin and gained more visceral fat than subjects who consumed glucose-rich beverages with their meals.

Also see: Minister urges magazines to lay off post-holidays weight loss stories

The most recent study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association observed differences in the way the brain responds to glucose and fructose.

Researchers used MRIs to scan the blood flow in the brains of normal weight subjects after consuming drinks that contained either glucose or fructose. The scans revealed that drinking glucose activates areas in the brain that are important for reward and desire of food, while consuming fructose does not. The researchers hypothesize that the desire to eat continues after consuming fructose because these areas of the brain are not turned off.

Since fructose is hard to avoid, Levy suggests following the sugar recommendations of the American Heart Association, which instruct adult males to consume no more than 9.5 teaspoons of added sugar a day and adult women to consume no more than 6.5 teaspoons.

Also be wary of added sugars in unsuspecting places, like fruit yogurt, which can contain 3.5 teaspoons of added sugar in a single serving, says Levy.

Scientists, doctors and other medical experts have been telling us to stop consuming pop, sugary beverages and other additive-heavy foods for sometime now, and this only adds to the growing body of evidence.

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