UNITED STATES - A new study using imaging tests finds that fructose, a sugar saturating many Western diets, triggers brain changes that may lead to overeating.
Scientists from Yale University in the US used magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans to track brain activity in 20 normal-weight subjects both before and after they consumed drinks containing glucose or fructose, a "fruit sugar."
After drinking fructose-laden drinks, subjects' brains didn't register the sensation of being full or satisfied, which could lead to overeating, said the researchers. However, after subjects drank a glucose beverage, scans revealed that activity in parts of the brain associated with desire for food, motivation, and reward processing were switched off or suppressed.
The findings were published January 2 online in the journal JAMA.
Given that the study was small, more research needs to be done, and researchers are currently testing whether or not glucose and fructose affect obese people differently from normal-weight people.
Still, experts advise that it's a good idea to cautiously consume sucrose and its ilk. Cook more at home and drink sugar-sweetened sodas and drinks sparingly. The American Heart Association recommends that men and women consume no more than 150 and 100 calories daily from added sugar, respectively. According to the Mayo Clinic, that is about six teaspoons of added sugar for women and nine teaspoons for men.