A team of researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered that fructose, a type of sugar found in many foods, plays a big role in obesity.
While it’s already known that too much fructose can lead to obesity, a new study dives deeper to explain exactly how this happens.
This study was recently published in a science journal called Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Fructose: The ‘Survival Switch’
The team was led by Richard Johnson, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. According to him, fructose acts differently than other types of food.
It has a special function that he calls a ‘survival switch.’ This function is helpful when food is scarce because it helps our bodies store fuel.
In nature, fructose is found in fruits. But in our modern diet, we usually get it from table sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
This is very different from how our ancestors ate. They would get their fructose from fruits and store it for the winter months when food was less available.
Fructose and Obesity: How It Works
According to the study, fructose makes us eat more and rest more, just like animals getting ready to hibernate.
This can lead to weight gain, resistance to insulin (which is a hormone that helps control blood sugar), high blood pressure, and a condition known as fatty liver.
These are all problems linked to our metabolism, which is the system our body uses to break down food and turn it into energy.
Looking Forward: Learning From Our Ancestors and Nature
Professor Johnson believes that fructose could be the main factor driving obesity and diabetes. He thinks that understanding the role of fructose in our bodies could be the key to understanding these health problems.
He points out that we can learn a lot from looking at how our ancestors lived and how animals in nature behave.
In his words, “This is a very exciting, new hypothesis that unites other hypotheses to point to the specific role fructose plays in the onset of obesity.
And we can trace it back to our ancestors, as well as learn from hibernating animals, exactly how fructose causes this ‘switch’ within us.”
In other words, by studying fructose and how it affects our bodies, we might be able to find better ways to prevent and treat obesity and related health problems.
This is a promising step forward in our understanding of these complex health issues.
If you care about weight management, please read studies about diets that could boost your gut health and weight loss, and 10 small changes you can make today to prevent weight gain.
For more information about obesity, please see recent studies about low-carb keto diet could manage obesity effectively and results showing popular weight loss diet linked to heart disease and cancer.
The study was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
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