Blaming Fructose

March 26/Perth, Australia/The West Australian -- Fructose, a sugar commonly used in fruit juices, soft drinks and snack foods, has been blamed for contributing to rising obesity and type 2 diabetes in teenagers.

A U.S. study published in the medical journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications found that fructose increased appetite. Found naturally in fruit, the sugar is used to sweeten foods and drinks.

A team from John Hopkins University's school of medicine in Baltimore said high consumption of fructose was potentially more dangerous than other forms of sugar such as glucose because of the way it affected the brain.

Sugars in general affected signalling systems in the brain that stimulated certain dietary behaviors, particularly feelings of appetite, but whereas glucose tended to decrease the amount of food people ate, fructose increased consumption.

Researcher Daniel Lane said as people ate more high-energy foods and became less active, they became obese and then developed insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

These changes were seen more in younger age groups.

From the March 30, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition