By Larissa Long
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from Yale University were able to pinpoint one potential reason this food, in particular, is so detrimental to our waistlines.
In their study on glucose versus fructose, researchers recruited 20 healthy, non-obese adult volunteers to undergo two separate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sessions of their brains. Their goal was to assess the changes to cerebral blood flow and brain activity after the consumption of fructose and glucose.
The participants were given 75 grams of either glucose or fructose in a cherry-flavored drink. After consuming the beverage, they underwent the MRI and rated their feelings of hunger, satiety, and fullness.
Later, they consumed a beverage with the other sweetener and went through the same imaging and rating process.
After analyzing the results, researchers found that the glucose, but not the fructose, increased feelings of satiety and fullness. Fructose, on the other hand, caused a spike in cerebral blood flow and activity in parts of the brain that control appetite and reward processing—the hypothalamus, insula, and striatum. This gives scientist much needed hard data indicating that fructose is likely to increase hunger, lead to excess food intake and promote obesity.
Researchers also stated that fructose consumption produces smaller levels of satiety hormones than glucose, which potentially results in fructose causing overeating.
Does this mean we should stop eating fruit?
Of course not. Fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber, which slows the absorption of unrefined natural sugars into the bloodstream and prevents blood sugar spikes.
When stripped of soluble fiber and refined, however, sugar becomes devoid of any nutrition value. What’s left is a substance that increases the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and other diseases associated with obesity. The addition of high fructose corn syrup, a man-made sweetener found in sodas and most other processed foods, to our food supply has made matters even worse.
Here’s an excellent clip of Dr. Emily Senay explaining the complicated matter of how increased fructose intake from sources such as high fructose corn syrup has influenced our nation’s health:
Cut out the refined sugars
If you need another reason to cut refined sugars, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, out of your diet, this is it! Time and time again, research has shown that no good can come from eating refined sugar products. Avoid processed foods and sodas—the biggest culprits—as much as possible.
If you do get a craving for something sweet, grab a piece of whole fruit. As mentioned earlier, the fiber in fruit slows the absorption of the naturally occurring sugars, which prevents your blood sugar from wildly spiking, as it would if you drank fruit juice or ate a processed, refined, sugary snack. This makes whole, unprocessed fruit the perfect food for busting your sugar craving.
1. Page KA, et al. Effects of fructose vs glucose on regional cerebral blood flow in brain regions involved with appetite and reward pathways. JAMA. 2013 Jan 2;309(1):63–70.
About the Author
Larissa Long has worked in the health care communications field for more than 13 years. She co-authored a self-care book titled Taking Care, has written countless tip sheets and e-letters on health topics, and contributed several articles toNatural Solutions magazine. She also served as managing editor of three alternative health and lifestyle newsletters — Dr. Susan Lark’s Women’s Wellness Today, Dr. David Williams’ Alternatives, and Janet Luhrs’ Simple Living.
For tips, tools and strategies to address your most pressing health concerns and make a positive difference in your life, visit Peak Health Advocate.
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