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Is Fructose Making People Fat?
Date:1/1/2013

associate professor in the university's division of endocrinology, diabetes and clinical nutrition.

But he stressed that nutritionists do not "recommend avoiding natural sources of fructose, such as fruit, or the occasional use of honey or syrup." And according to Purnell, "excess consumption of processed sugar can be minimized by preparing meals at home using whole foods and high-fiber grains."

Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, agreed that more research is needed. "This study provides an interesting look at how the brain reacts to different chemicals found in foods, but how this might impact obesity and the growing number of people who are obese cannot be determined from this study alone," she said.

Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C, added there is a lot that scientists do not know about fructose and how it affects your body. "There are certainly differences between sugar molecules, and these are still being worked out scientifically," he said.

According to Kahan, high-fructose corn syrup, a ubiquitous sweetener that manufacturers love because it is inexpensive, super-sweet and helps extend shelf life, gets a bad rap about its potential role in the obesity epidemic, but it has about the same amount of fructose as table sugar (sucrose). "We don't entirely know if there is some uniquely unhealthy aspect of high-fructose corn syrup," he said.

One thing that is clear, Kahan said, is that "almost all of us eat too much sugar, and if we can moderate that we will be healthier on a number of levels."

Dr. Louis Aronne, founder and director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, noted that most sweeteners contain a mixture of glucose and fructose. For these reasons, "the effect is not as dramatic as you might see in a trial like this."


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