LIFESTYLE

Sugar In Fruit May Trigger Hunger Cravings And Cause You To Eat More, Study Suggests

06/05/2015 11:15 BST | Updated 06/05/2015 11:59 BST

We tend to think that eating five (or more) portions of fruit and vegetables per day will be beneficial for our health, especially if we are trying kickstart weight loss.

But a new study has suggested the sugar found in fruit may cause us to feel more hungry than we would otherwise, causing us to reach for more, potentially unhealthy, food.

The research suggests that reaching for fruit when trying to lose weight may actually be counter-productive.

fruit

Scientists at the University of Southern California conducted brain scans for 24 healthy men and women to come to their conclusions.

The participants each had brain scans in the morning on two separate days.

On the first day, each person was given a drink sweetened with fructose before their scan. On the second day, participants consumed a drink sweetened with glucose.

While fructose is found in fruits and vegetables, glucose is found in most carbohydrates, including bread.

During the two brain scans, volunteers were shown pictures of tasty foods (such as pizza) or objects (such as a lamp) and their hunger and desire to eat was measured.

In addition to the brain scans, the researchers also analysed blood samples from participants for hormones that control appetite.

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The results indicted greater levels of hunger and a higher desire for food when participants had consumed fructose, compared to when they consumed glucose.

The researchers concluded that fructose may therefore promote "feeding behaviour".

“Fructose fails to stimulate hormones, like insulin, that are important in helping us feel full,” Kathleen Page, one of the researchers behind the study said in a statement.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This isn't the first time fructose has been linked to increased desire for food. A 2013 study from Yale University found fructose can trigger brain changes that may lead to overeating.

The researchers found that after drinking a fructose beverage, the brain doesn't register the feeling of being full as it does when simple glucose is consumed.

But they were quick to stress that this doesn't mean we should cut out fruit completely. Instead, we should limit the amount of fructose we consume in drinks.

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