A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that fructose intake may contribute to overeating. Fructose, a fruit sugar found in many beverages and processed/commercially-prepared foods, has been the subject of great debate over its contribution to the increasing prevalence of obesity. In this randomized, blinded, crossover study, areas of the brain responsible for appetite regulation were monitored in 20 healthy adults in response to ingestion of drinks sweetened with either fructose or glucose. Here, glucose and fructose produced different responses, where fructose consumption resulted in a more active hypothalamus and feelings of hunger, which were suppressed with glucose ingestion. These results suggest that dietary elements may in fact contribute to feelings of hunger or fullness, further supporting the parallel between fructose ingestion and obesity.
Modulating feelings of hunger or fullness has also gained considerable attention as a weight-loss strategy with the recent FDA approval of Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride), a novel anti-obesity agent which works on the brain to make people eat less and feel full faster.