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Fructose and Hunger

December 11, 2014

Does the sugar fructose fool us into eating more calories than we need?



Fructose_3D_ball-and-stick_model that kiwi guy wikipedia cc by sa 3.0

The chemical structure of fructose. (That kiwi guy/Wikipedia)

Does fructose fool our brains? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The sugar fructose does less to reduce our hunger than other sugars do, according to endocrinologist Kathleen Page at the Keck School of Medicine. She and her colleagues gave volunteers either a fructose or a glucose drink, put them in a functional MRI scanner, and showed them pictures of chocolate cake and pizza. Reward centers of the brain lit up much more for the fructose drinkers than for the glucose drinkers.

KATHLEEN PAGE (Keck School of Medicine):

And we also looked at behavior, so how hungry are they and how much do they want to eat something when they see those food cues? And interestingly, after the fructose drink, they were hungrier and wanted to eat food more compared to after the glucose drink.


While fructose is found in fruit, it’s also added to most processed foods, which could be one reason many people consume more calories than they need. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.