Category Archives: Fructose

Fructose on the brain


High Fructose Corn Syrup has had such bad publicity lately. Turns out that there is a very valid basis for the concern. In this article, Dr. Daniel Amen discusses the effect of high amounts of fructose on the brain and liver.

Fructose on the brain

For some time now, I have been writing about high fructose corn syrup and how it contributes to obesity. Thanks to a fascinating new brain imaging study, we can see what fructose does in the brain that could be part of the problem.

Let me back up a bit first. Fructose is the sugar found in fruits and vegetables. It’s natural, so what could be bad about that? Well, when you eat fruits and vegetables, you get a small amount of fructose. For example, a small peach has about 2 grams of fructose. Small amounts of fructose are processed by the liver. No problem.

Things start to go bad when you consume huge loads of fructose in one sitting, like the 33 grams of fructose you get from a 20-ounce soda. The liver just can’t process the glut of fructose fast enough. This sets off a cascade of problems, which can result in excess fat on the body.

This new study in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism is so cool because it shows what fructose does in the brain that could be adding to the problem. And how fructose behaves differently in the brain than glucose, which is another type of sugar that provides energy.

When study participants were given an infusion of fructose, activity was inhibited in the cortical brain control areas, including areas thought to be important in determining how we respond to food taste, smells, and pictures. When these same participants were given glucose, these areas were activated.

So not only are high concentrations of fructose assaulting the liver, they are also changing the way the brain functions, which could create the “perfect storm” that makes people pack on the pounds.

To keep your liver and your brain healthy, avoid high fructose corn syrup and other larges doses of fructose. Stick to fruit when you need a “sugar fix.”

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This entry was written by Dr. Amen, posted on April 19, 2011 at 9:00 am, filed under Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.