FoodFacts.com has been dedicated to bringing our community news that educates us all on the obesity epidemic and its possible causes. Today we learned of a new study that provides further insight into these issues in some new and innovative ways.
New research published this past week in the Journal of the American Medical Association has explored the differences between fructose and glucose on the human brain. Fructose is most commonly found in the U.S. food supply as high-fructose corn syrup. This highly-processed ingredient is commonly found in thousands of products in our food supply. Fructose on its own can also be used as a sweetener in a variety of products. This new study coming out of Yale University suggests that any type of fructose may be a contributor to obesity because it affects the regions of the brain that control appetite differently than glucose. This study is actually the first that compares the brain’s response to both types of sweeteners.
The research relied on brain imaging to actually measure activity after the sweeteners were consumed. It showed clearly that glucose reduced the blood flow in the areas of the brain that regulate appetite, thereby satisfying their appetites and stopping them from eating more. Results seem to suggest that food and drink containing fructose might actually cause people to eat more than they would normally, after consuming different foods containing different forms of sugar.
Glucose is used by the brain as fuel. If there isn’t enough glucose, the brain will activate certain cells that try to encourage you to eat. When glucose levels increase, the brain turns the cells off – signaling that you don’t need more food. Fructose doesn’t seem to send the same messages to the brain, so those cells stay turned on, so to speak. There’s no ending message that tells you to stop eating.
The study focused on 20 healthy adults through the usage of MRIs (magnetic resonance images). There was a “significantly greater” reduction of blood flow in the rain areas regulating appetite after consuming glucose than there was after consuming fructose. Glucose is the main type of sugar in our bloodstream. It’s the most important source of energy for our cells. Glucose is derived from fruits, vegetables and starches. Fructose most commonly comes from sugar cane, beets and corn. It’s most often used because it is far sweeter than glucose and can help processed foods and beverages hold their sweetness over long periods of time and even after freezing. This is one of the main reasons that the use of high-fructose corn syrup is so popular among manufacturers of processed foods, sodas and juices.
The researchers are suggesting further studies that would test the effects of glucose under more common conditions where the participants are eating and drinking typical foods together with those containing fructose to gain greater understanding of the effects of the sweetener on the appetite-controlling areas of our brains. FoodFacts.com will follow this story and bring our community any updates as they become available. In the meantime, stay vigilant and read the ingredient lists for every product you consider for purchase.