A new study has been done comparing two kinds of sugar: fructose and glucose, and whether or not they have an affect on our brains. Through all the weight loss fads and diets, people have become hesitant on consuming either one. Typically fructose has the more negative hype; however people tend to talk badly about sugars, in general. The big question that is driving this study is if fructose is driving the obesity epidemic.
For this study, the researchers wanted to see if glucose or fructose had any affect on the brain and if either one of them affected the parts of the brain that tell you to eat. They took MRI brain scans of 20 healthy individuals, taking one after their consumption of fructose and one after their consumption of glucose, to examine the differences of blood flow in certain parts of the brain.
The researchers found that “Glucose, not fructose, ingestion reduced the activation of the hypothalamus, insula, and striatum-brain regions that regulate appetite, motivation, and reward processing; glucose ingestion also increased functional connections between the hypothalamic-striatal network and increased satiety.” Robert Sherwin, a Yale medicine professor, and his colleagues found that the brain did respond differently to the different sugars. Although Sherwin and his colleagues did not detect any effect from the fructose on the brain, they did notice that glucose helps to turn off those parts of the brain that tell you to keep eating. Glucose satisfies the body and if there is not enough present, the brain will activate certain cells and tell your body to eat, which can lead to overeating and not eating the right things.
So although this study did not find any negative affects of fructose, it does tell you that your body is in need of glucose, so don’t cut out all sugars from your diet, just the refined sugars. Scientists will continue to study fructose and its possible effects on the obesity epidemic and overeating.
Read more about glucose and fructose and their effects on the brain.