According to a recent scientific study, fructose –the sugar found in fruits – may trigger cravings for foods that are very high in calories.
The study was conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Southern California.
The researchers got 24 volunteers to drink a sugary beverage that had been sweetened with fructose on one day, and another day the same participants were given a drink sweetened with glucose.
The drink that had been sweetened with fructose caused the volunteers to be hungrier and crave for foods like sweets and biscuits, compared to effects of the glucose-sweetened beverage.
The findings suggest that different types of sugars may have different effects on humans.
The scientists gave the volunteers a cherry-flavored, but did not tell them whether the drink was sweetened with glucose or fructose.
After the participants consumed the drinks, they had to answer how hungry they felt.
Then, the researchers performed brain scans on all the volunteers while showing them photos of high-calorie foods, such as sweets, biscuits, pizza and burgers.
The volunteers were also shown neutral pictures that did not involve food, like photos of buildings.
After a few days, the researchers asked the volunteers to return to the center so they can perform the same tests.
The only difference was that the scientists had changed the sweetener of the drinks but did not say anything to the participants.
They performed the brain scans again, and according to them, the people responded more strongly when they saw the photos of food after drinking the fructose-sweetened drinks, compared to the glucose ones.
Some of the subjects said that they felt a stronger craving for treats after consuming the fructose drink.
Although glucose and fructose contain the same amount of calories or energy, the human body breaks the sugars down differently, which might explain what the study revealed.
The researchers also found that the levels of insulin were lower after they consumed the fructose drink, compared to the effects of glucose.
Dr. Kathleen A. Page, a researcher at the University of Southern California, said that compared to glucose, fructose does not stimulate the hormones like insulin, which is known to provide satiety signals to the brain.
Which is why after consuming fructose, the brain may not be getting the signals that trigger the sensation of satiety.
The researchers detailed the findings of their recent study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Image Source: hyperphysics