A new study shows that the human brain reacts differently to two types of sugar. What does that mean? According to a new report from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology that is being held annually in Phoenix, Arizona, this means that the fructose from sugar affects the brain response and makes us eat more.
At the moment, statistics show that two out of three adult Americans are overweight. Also the same statistics reveal that one of three Americans suffers from obesity. The scientists believe that this is caused by major changes in diets and lifestyle that took place in the past 25 years. One of the main reasons for US obesity is the increase of fructose consumption.
Fructose is a compound usually found in fruits. It’s a type of sugar that is also added to the majority of foods available on the market, to make it taste better and sell more. This type of sugar that is being added in all kinds of food products is what we call “refined sugar”. The most common form of refined sugar that has a high level of fructose is corn syrup.
Glucose, which is the primary energy source for the human body is usually produced by breaking down some types of carbohydrates, complex ones. When we ingest fructose the body produces smaller increases of satiety hormones, compared to when we eat glucose food. This means that the brain reacts differently to two types of sugar: adding fructose directly into the brain makes the subject more hungry. When the subject is given glucose, the feeling of fullness is more acute, and the subject does not feel the need to eat anymore.
Previous studies have shown that glucose has a different reaction in the hypothalamus than fructose. Glucose reduces the activity in this brain region, which causes metabolic satiety, while fructose does not do that.
The study showing that the brain reacts differently to two types of sugar involved 24 young men and women, ages 16 to 25. They were shown images of food after being given to drink a beverage with either fructose or glucose. The subjects’ brains showed that after drinking the fructose beverage, the subjects were hungrier than those who drank a glucose beverage.