Not all sugars* are equal, even though they carry the same number of calories according to Dr Robert Sherwin, an endocrinologist at Yale whose new study shows that unlike glucose, which “turns off or suppresses the activity of areas in the brain that are critical for reward and desire for food, fructose actually trigger changes in the brain that can lead to overeating.”
To prove this, Sherwin and his colleagues used MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) to track the blood flow in the brains of 20 (young) normal weight people before and after they consumed drinks containing glucose or fructose in two sessions several weeks apart.
What’s convincing, said Dr. Jonathan Purnell, an endocrinologist at Oregon Health & Science University, is that the imaging results mirrored how hungry the people said they felt, as well as what earlier studies found in animals.
‘‘It implies that fructose at least with regards to promoting food intake and weight gain, is a bad actor compared to glucose,’’ said Purnell. He wrote a commentary that appears with the federally funded study in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
Unfortunately, fructose literally saturates the American diet. And while the study does not state for a fact that high fructose corn syrup can cause obesity, the evidence is clear that it can play a major role in the obesity epidemic among the population here in the US.
*Table sugar or sucrose made up of half fructose and half glucose, while high fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose and 45% glucose.