Fructose May Lead to Overeating

Susan Farley
Published Online: Sunday, August 1, 2004

The results of a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, indicated that large consumption of fructose might alter the hormones that make us feel full. Sugar comes in the form of glucose or fructose, both naturally found in fruit. Manufacturers, however, often sweeten their products with high-fructose corn syrup, which contains concentrated amounts of fructose.

The study authors had 12 normal-weight women eat a balanced meal followed by a drink sweetened with either fructose or glucose. Women who consumed the fructose drink showed lower levels of insulin and leptin and higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates eating, compared with the women who drank the glucose drink. At the same time, the fructose drink caused a spike in the level of blood fats, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Glucose will trigger insulin release from the pancreas, which will alert people that they are full. The liver also metabolizes glucose in a healthier manner than it does fructose. The study authors noted that it is difficult to avoid fructose altogether because it is a natural molecule, but it should not be consumed in large quantities.

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