How fructose makes you eat more of everything else

By November 9, 2008Uncategorized

In Sweet Poison I pointed out that multiple studies have shown that in addition to all the other good things that fructose does for us, it also increases our appetite.  

We know that our short term appetite suppressor (insulin) works less well when there is lots of fat put into your arteries by fructose.  But I took that one step further in the book and speculated that perhaps the fat also dulls the effect of our long term appetite suppressing hormone (leptin).  
If this were true, it would mean that our long term appetite control gradually gets dialled up so that we need to eat more and more in order to feel full.  Some research just published in the American Journal of Physiology has proved the connection (at least in rats).   
The study concluded that fructose creates leptin resistance before any of the other symptoms of fructose over consumption become apparent (like weight gain, or problems with blood sugar levels) and that this in turn accelerates obesity.  So not only would the fructose itself make them fatter it would ensure that they ate more of everything else as well.  
The significant increase in the amount of fructose in our diet is therefore starting to look like a sound explanation for the increase in our overall calorie consumption in the last 30 years.
A more recent study suggests fructose has an even more direct effect on the appetite control centre in our brain.  The paper from the October 28 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports on animal studies where fructose was directly infused into the central nervous system.  Previous studies had observed that when this was done, the animal ate more.  
The new research looked at why this would be so and came up with an interesting answer.  They concluded that the fructose actually reacted with the appetite control mechanism in the brain in  such a way that it was fooled into thinking the body needed more food.   When the same experiment was tried with glucose, the animal’s appetite was suppressed.
Putting these two studies together it seems that fructose not only destroys our long term ability to control our appetite it also immediately makes us more hungry.  Its certainly handy stuff to have on hand if you want to make people fatter.

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