A new study reveals that fructose, which is available in an array of beverages and food items, may make people hungry and tempt them to over eating.
Fructose is fruit sugar but is distinct from regular sugar or glucose. Dr. Kathleen Page, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who is also the co-author of the study, suggests that fructose is a weak suppressor of the brain regions that assist in controlling appetite.
People who eat fructose-rich food are more likely to feel hungrier when compared to people who eat glucose-rich foods.
The researchers of the current study cite previous research, which indicates that consuming fructose results in a smaller release of hormones like insulin when compared to ingestion of glucose. Studies suggest that insulin gives the feeling of being full in humans. Latest studies suggest that fructose does not curtail hunger but glucose does.
The latest study involved 24 participants, both women and men, between the age of 16 and 25 years. The participants were given fructose- or glucose-based beverages to drink. They were then showed images of several food items including chocolate cake high in calories to understand the degree of hunger within the participants.
The study found that participants who consumed fructose drinks felt hungrier when compared to people who drank glucose-based drinks.
Lona Sandon, a registered dietician, suggests that the study findings are consistent when compared to previous research.
"We have known for quite some time that the insulin response to glucose in the bloodstream is a normal response to signal the brain and body that calories have been consumed," says Sandon. "Fructose does not trigger the same response of insulin."
However, Page suggests that the results of the latest study are just preliminary and more work is needed to draw conclusions about how food sweeteners influence hunger in people.
A major chunk of the U.S. population is obese. The government is spending billions of dollars each year to address obesity and related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and more. The study is important as it may help consumers to make an informed decision while making a choice to buy a sweetened food item.
The study is also significant for food and health agencies to encourage food makers to opt for glucose as a sweetener in food products.