Fructose and Glucose Elicit Opposite Responses in the Human Brain.
I’ve had an ongoing disagreement with the National Corn Growers Association for years as to whether high fructose corn syrup reacts differently in the human brain and body than glucose. They’ve written letters to the editor of papers I write for and sent me e-mails trying to convince me, and readers of my columns, that my anecdotal information and scientific sources are incorrect.
Recently, Oregon Health Services University (OHSU.edu) published a paper stating, “This study provides evidence in humans that fructose and glucose elicit opposite responses in the brain. It supports the animal research that shows similar findings and links fructose with obesity.”” Jonathan Purnell, M.D.
The report went on to say that fructose inhibits brain activity and many experts agree the increase in fructose and high fructose sweeteners in the American diet “directly correlates to the nation’s growing obesity epidemic.”
Using the latest functional MRI techniques allowed the researchers to watch different parts of the brain in real time and compare the brain’s reaction to foods. Fructose, glucose and a saline solution were tested on nine normal weight humans. When the MRI test groups were compared, “scientists observed significant differences.” “What we found in this case is that the brain’s response to fructose is very different than the response to glucose, which means it (glucose) is less likely to promote weight gain.”
The report went on to say that responses in one area of the brain that’s involved in regulating food intake, the hypothalamus, showed no difference between fructose and glucose. But, opposite responses were shown in the cortical area of the brain between fructose and glucose. This is a significant finding since the areas affected are important in determining how we react to tastes, smells and even pictures of food. The response to fructose could be termed “eat more.” Other sweeteners, like those found in sugar free diet sodas, appear to work on the same areas of the brain and in the same negative way.
“For consumers, our findings support current recommendations that people be conscious of sweeteners added to their drinks and meals and not overindulge in high-fructose processed foods.”
Jonathan Purnell M.D. is an associate professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes and clinical nutrition in the OHSU School of Medicine.
I have to assume the National Corn Growers knew this to be true some time ago, but wouldn’t admit it. Why else would they petition the FDA in hopes of being able to change the name from high fructose corn syrup to “corn sugar.” Be aware, if they get the go ahead to change the name, it will still be the same old stuff.