A new study using brain imaging says that fructose, a ubiquitous sugar in the modern western diet, prevents the brain from recognizing fullness, promoting overeating and thereby weight gain. The researchers concluded that glucose does not have this effect. According to Oregon Health & Science University endocrinologist Dr. Jonathan Purnell, the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results of 20 young, normal-weight study subjects mimicked how hungry each subject said he or she felt before and after consuming drinks with glucose or fructose.
All sugars are not the same—in example, high fructose corn syrup is 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose as opposed to table sugar, which is half of each.
Yale University endocrinologist Dr. Robert Sherwin says that glucose “turns off or suppresses the activity of areas of the brain that are critical for reward and desire for food.” Because fructose doesn’t result in those changes, however, “the desire to eat continues—it isn’t turned off.”
The small study underscores sugar’s tie to American adults’ and children’s swelling waistlines. Fructose—as well as the highly processed, GMO-corn-derived high fructose corn syrup—has, since the 1970s, been increasingly added to many processed foods ranging from breakfast cereal to barbecue sauce, sodas to energy bars. Incidentally, a third of today’s American children and teens and over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.
Although fructose is found in fruit and vegetables, neither of these food groups make up even close to the amount of fructose being consumed on on a grand scale. Instead, health-wreaking and often mercury-tainted high-fructose corn syrup makes up the vast majority of fructose consumption, which is leading to even more illness and disease.
“Fructose from fruit is encased in fiber-rich flesh that slows and reduces its absorption in the body and its metabolism in the liver, serving as a sort of antidote to the negative effects of fructose metabolism. The raw fructose in HFCS and normal table sugar is not encased in a friendly fiber flesh, making it more likely to wreak havoc on your metabolism,” Michael Goran from Science20 explains.
Flawed Research ‘Shows’ Obesity not so Bad
However, it should be noted that independent experts have openly criticized the researcher of the study, Katherine Flegal from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for conducting “misleading” research in 2005 that found thin and normal-weight people had a slightly higher risk of death than those who were overweight.
“Some portion of those thin people are actually sick,” said biostatistician Donald Berry from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, “and sick people tend to die sooner.”
Obesity Isn’t a Simple Problem
In a culture obsessed with dieting, it’s easy to become overly obsessed with weight in favor of overall health. Drinking diet drinks as opposed to full-sugar varieties do little to stem disease and can contribute to obesity, tooth damage, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. The truth about weight loss and obesity is that it is many-faceted, with links also to pesticides and antibiotics in addition to the better-known factors like junk food and less active lifestyles.
Striving for overall health rather than a cookie cutter silhouette leads to lasting weight loss, healthfulness, and longevity.