April 10, 2013

Fructose May Affect Hunger Cues

More research on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) keeps coming. Some of these are becoming more difficult for the corn refiners and corn producers to refute and even their experts are more careful in what they say. This is because they don't want to be caught in a misstatement and most are recycling old arguments to divert attention from more and more studies showing the damage caused by HFCS. Even if we want them to give up and admit defeat, they will not and will continue to recycle old arguments.

This study is more scientific in nature even though not a lengthy study since measurements were done in recording reactions in the hypothalamus, which helps to control appetite. The participants were not told which type of sugar solution they were given, fructose or glucose. Blood samples were also taken to check hormone levels that control feelings of hunger and fullness. The study participants were asked how satisfied they felt.

In as quickly as 15 minutes, people showed changes in brain flow and activity. After the glucose drink, the body seemed to recognize and respond to the extra calories with increases in glucose and insulin. This blunted the hunger and brain activity slowed in the hypothalamus. However, after the fructose drink, the hypothalamus activity stayed active with little increase in insulin. The study participants reported they felt hungrier. Other hormones known to regulate hunger, such as ghrelin and leptin were unchanged after either drink.

Of course, James Rippe, MD, professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Central Florida and a paid consultant for the Corn Refiners Association, the group that represents manufacturers of high-fructose corn syrup says, “When consumed together, as they almost always are, balance each other out and would likely have no effect on hypothalamic blood flow. Any suggestion that this artificial experiment has implications for human nutrition or obesity is unwarranted speculation.”

At least the authors of the study made no such statements and only alluded to the possibility that fructose may affect hunger cues. Even Rachel Begun, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics just stated that we need to try to limit added sugars in all forms. She was not involved in the study.

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