According to a study, led by Kathleen Page of the Yale University School of Medicine, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the U.S. food industry uses a cheap sweetener called 'fructose' which inhibits the brain from regulating the body’s appetite.
From soda to ketchup, many processed foods and beverages contain fructose, reports the Scientific American.
In the study, researchers measured the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which regulates hunger, of 20 adult volunteers who drank sweetened beverages.
After drinking a 300-calorie drink sweetened with 75 grams of fructose, the volunteers had a more active hypothalamus and showed greater signs of hunger.
When the volunteers received a similar drink that was sweetened with glucose, their hypothalamus was less active and the volunteers showed signs of being full.
Yale University endocrinologist Dr. Robert Sherwin told the Associated Press: "Drinking glucose turns off or suppresses the activity of areas of the brain that are critical for reward and desire for food. With fructose, we don’t see those changes. As a result, the desire to eat continues, it isn’t turned off.”
The U.S. as the highest obesity rate in the world with 35.7 percent of adults being classified as ‘obese’ by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers recommend that Americans stay away from food and beverages that contain high-fructose corn syrup, and instead look for those that contain glucose.
Foods and drinks particularly high in fructose include sodas, condiments, frozen foods, breakfast cereals, canned foods, breads and crackers, prepared baked goods, salad dressings and prepared drinks.