Most of us understand fructose as a fruit sugar found in fruits, vegetables and many processed foods that affects our brain and eating behaviour. We also know that this type of sugar plays a role in type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Now, scientists from Yale University in the United States are reporting that your brain naturally produces fructose, so they set out to investigate if it affects type 2 diabetes and obesity in the same way. For more on these findings, which were published in the journal JCI Insight, keep reading.
There’s always been debate around whether or not fructose is healthy...
To give you some background, there’s always been controversy around fructose – the so-called healthy sugar found in fruits, vegetables, honey and other plant materials. In fact, this sugar has been in the spotlight for over 20 years!
Some researchers are dedicated to proving that fructose is a special type of sugar because it has no effects on weight gain or disease, and that changes in the health of the global population aren’t due to fructose, but rather increased kilojoule or kilocalorie intake.
On the flip side, other researchers are adamant that fructose increases your risk of a wide variety of metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes
, raised uric acid levels, increased triglyceride levels and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – all of which may cause heart disease
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So can the fructose that your brain produces lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity?
To reach these new findings, the scientists conducted experiments on eight healthy volunteers and found that the brain converts another glucose – another simple sugar – into fructose.
“In this study, we show for the first time that fructose can be produced in the human brain,” Dr Janice Hwang, first study author and an assistant professor of medicine, said in a news release.
“By showing that fructose in the brain is not simply due to dietary consumption of fructose, we’ve shown fructose can be generated from any sugar you eat. It adds another dimension into understanding fructose’s effects on the brain,” Dr Hwang added.
The team wrote that while glucose sends brain signals of feeling full, fructose doesn’t, and that the conversion of glucose to fructose also occurs in other parts of the body.
The team concluded that this pathway might be one other mechanisms by which high blood sugar
levels can exert its harmful effects and result in conditions like type 2 diabetes.