Published on January 3rd, 2013 | by No Artificial
How High-Fructose Corn Syrup Makes You Fat and Hungry
High-fructose corn syrup may leave you hungry, a new study found.
High-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is a liquid sweetener made from corn that is ubiquitous in processed foods.This cheap and popular sweetener has been blamed for helping to fuel the American obesity epidemic.
According to a new study, lead by Kathleen Page, of Yale University School of Medicine, fructose has a marked affect on the brain region that controls appetite.
To analyze how fructose affects the brain, researchers studied 20 healthy adult participants. While the test volunteers consumed sweetened beverages, the researchers used fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure the response of the hypothalamus, which helps regulate many hunger-related impulses, as well as reward and motivation processing.
The study’s subjects received a 300-milliliter cherry-flavored drink sweetened with 75 grams (equivalent to about 300 calories) of fructose as well as exactly the same beverage sweetened with the identical amount of glucose. These refreshments were given randomly at sessions from one to eight months apart. The researchers also took blood samples at different time points and asked the study’s participants to rate their feelings of hunger and fullness.
Subjects showed significant differences in their hypothalamic activity after consuming the fructose-sweetened beverage vs the one sweetened by glucose within 15 minutes. Glucose decreased the activity of the hypothalamus but fructose actually caused a small increase to this area.
The study’s results have shown that the glucose-sweetened drinks alone increased the feelings of fullness reported by participants, which suggests that they would be less likely to consume more calories after having something sweetened with glucose than something sweetened with more fructose.
Although glucose and fructose have the same molecular formula they are not metabolized the same way. While glucose can be utilized by all cells to produce energy, fructose needs to be metabolized by the liver and is more likely to be converted to abdominal fat.
In the previous research published in “Journal of Clinical Investigation,” overweight subjects assigned to the fructose drink had higher levels of blood sugar and insulin, and they also developed insulin resistance, while the group assigned to the glucose drink did not.
Fructose also fails to reduce the amount of circulating ghrelin (a hunger-signaling hormone) as much as glucose does.
The Yale University School of Medicine study’s results, along with other research, suggest that the “advances in food processing and economic forces” that have increased the intake of fructose, added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are “indeed extending the supersizing concept to the population’s collective waistlines,” wrote Jonathan Purnell, of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Clinical Nutrition, and Damien Fair, of the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, both of Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, who coauthored an essay that have been published, in the same issue of JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.
“A common counterargument is that it is the excess calories that are important, not the food. Simply put: just eat less,” Purnell and Fair explained. “The reality, however, is that hunger and fullness are major determinants of how much humans eat, just as thirst determines how much humans drink. These sensations cannot simply be willed away or ignored.”