Corn Syrup Might Be Contributing to Obesity By Increasing Hunger, Study Finds
A new study finds that types of sugar that is used in sodas and many types of foods is increasing people’s appetites and therefore causing obesity. Researchers at Yale University conducted a new study using bran scans of people that ingested high-fructose corn syrup. They found that fructose affected the region that regulates appetite, suggesting that eating corn syrup is a more harmful than other types of sugar such as glucose.
Pure fructose is found in fresh fruit, juice, and jam. But it also is in our diet due to the use of high-fructose corn syrup that is used in food manufacturing. Table sugar has both fructose and glucose, but high-fructose contains a higher proportion of fructose.
Brain scans showed the fructose did not produce feelings of satiety and fullness unlike glucose which did. Researchers think this may be because it has a different effect on blood flow to the areas of the brain that regulate appetite.
In order to test how high-fructose corn syrup affects the brain, researchers studied twenty health adults. After drinking either fructose or glucose, the participants were given an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging. Then, researchers measured blood flow changes in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus regulates many hunger related signals as well as processing reward and motivation. The researchers also took blood samples and asked the participants to rate their feelings of hunger and fullness.
According to Mail Online, Dr. Kathleen Page of Yale University said, “Glucose but not fructose ingestion reduced the activation of the hypothalamus, insula, and striatum-brain regions that regulate appetite, motivation, and reward processing.”
They also found the the participants said the glucose drink increased feelings of fullness. Although fructose and glucose look similar molecularly, fructose is metabolized differently by the body. Also, fructose causes the body to secrete less insulin than glucose does. Insulin also tells the body to feel full and dulls the reward the body gets from food. Fructose also failed to reduce the amount of a hunger signaling hormone called ghrelin as much as glucose does according to Yahoo News.
According to Mail Online, The researchers concluded:
“Increases in fructose consumption have paralleled the increasing prevalence of obesity, and high-fructose diets are thought to promote weight gain and insulin resistance…Therefore, fructose possibly increases food-seeking behavior and increases food intake.”