Wednesday, January 9, 2013


The fructose vs glucose controversy surrounding obesity development is of a relatively recent origin. If a poll is taken on this issue probably the result may be evenly balanced with 50% condemning fructose while the other half doubting its role in over weight problem! What is the truth? If the latest report on the subject is to be believed, fructose definitely behaves differently. first because of its ability to cross brain barrier and the second due to its influence hypothalamus which controls the appetite. Here is a take on this subject which provides interesting insight into the on going controversy. 

Subjects showed substantial differences in their hypothalamic activity after consuming the fructose-sweetened beverage versus the one sweetened by glucose within 15 minutes. Glucose lowered the activity of the hypothalamus but fructose actually prompted a small spike to this area. As might be expected from these results, the glucose drink alone increased the feelings of fullness reported by volunteers, which indicates that they would be less likely to consume more calories after having something sweetened with glucose than something sweetened with more fructose.Fructose and glucose look similar molecularly, but fructose is metabolized differently by the body and prompts the body to secrete less insulin than does glucose (insulin plays a role in telling the body to feel full and in dulling the reward the body gets from food). Fructose also fails to reduce the amount of circulating ghrelin (a hunger-signaling hormone) as much as glucose does. (Animal studies have shown that fructose can, indeed, cross the blood-brain barrier and be metabolized in the hypothalamus.) Previous studies have shown that this effect was pronounced in animal models.

It is always an intriguing situation considering that the common sugar which is a chemical combination of fructose and glucose was being consumed by mankind for centuries and the obesity problem as being seen to day was never an issue of the old society. The coincidence between the commercialization of cheap high fructose syrup (HFCS), a product containing predominantly fructose and quantum jump in the obese population in the US cannot be wished away simply and the study brings out the stark reality that scientifically HFCS with high fructose proportion can influence appetite in a way that in spite of no need for food, consumers are "forced" to eat mechanically by the brain due to its negative influence on two hunger controlling hormones, insulin and ghrelin. These findings must spur further research to confirm the results which are indeed disturbing.


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