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Fructose Metabolism In Brain Increases Food Intake

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have suggested a direct link between increased food consumption and foods with fructose. The combination of sedentary lifestyles and eating high-energy foods, laden with fructose, may be directly linked to the obesity epidemic and prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Thirty percent of adults are obese. Our youth are now experiencing type 1 diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol levels at accelerating rates that can lead to lifelong health problems and shorten lifespan.

M. Daniel Lane and colleagues at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have analyzed data from research that relates to how the hypothalamus in the brain receives signals appetite. They looked at research papers from 2001, noting in particular two research papers in the journal PNAS in 2007 and 2008 showing that glucose and fructose act differently in the brain.

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The brain signal for appetite, called the AMPK/malonyl-CoA signaling pathway, responds to glucose and fructose, and it responsible for regulating appetite. Stimulation of the AMPK/malonyl-CoA signaling pathway from fructose leads to more eating, while glucose intake leads to less eating, as glucose levels rise in the brain.

“Thus, fructose has the opposite effect of glucose on the AMPK/malonyl-CoA signaling system and thereby, feeding behavior,” the authors write.

According to Lane, "We feel that these findings may have particular relevance to the massive increase in the use of high fructose sweeteners (both high fructose corn syrup and table sugar) in virtually all sweetened foods, most notably soft drinks. The per capita consumption of these sweeteners in the USA is about 145 lbs/year and is probably much higher in teenagers/youth that have a high level of consumption of soft drinks. There is a large literature now that correlates, but does not prove that a culprit in the rise of teenage obesity may be fructose."

The study authors say, “The fact that fructose metabolism by the brain increases food intake and obesity risk raises health concerns in view of the large and increasing per capita consumption of high fructose sweeteners, especially by youth”.
The study raises concerns about how fructose is metabolized in the brain and leads to obesity and type 2 diabetes, especially in youth who consume soft drinks and high-energy foods.
Fructose is rapidly metabolized by the brain, by signaling the AMPK/malonyl-CoA pathway in the hypothalamus to increase food intake. Glucose has the opposite effect on the brain. The study suggests that avoiding fructose is important for preventing diabetes, and controlling appetite.




Hi, My google alert for HFCS picked up your article. My congratulations to the JHU research team. The CRA keeps hawking that HFCS is similar to sugar. Look at the variant HFCS-55 which is used to sweeten all national brands of sodas. While its composition (55%fructose:45% glucose) appears to be similar to sucrose (50:50), one needs to do the math. Every ratio can be expressed as a quotient and calculated. 55/45=1.22 That means that in every can of soda, compared to glucose, there is 22% extra fructose. The wizards ar Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill must be aware of these numbers. HFCS is only a blend of fructose and glucose; they chose the ratio. HFCS-55 is fructose heavy and we have been getting fatter and sicker since its introduction into our beverages.