How to deal with obesity? New study claims to have found the main obesity scapegoat.

How to deal with obesity? New study claims to have found the main obesity scapegoat.

If the findings of a study just published in the scientific journal Obesity are to be believed, the main culprit in obesity is none other than fructose. However, as has always been the case with studies on fat and thinness, nothing is black and white.
Fructose is a simple sugar, or monosaccharide, also known as fruit sugar. It is found naturally in honey and in various fruits and vegetables. It is by no means the largest source of calories typically consumed by humans. But according to University of Colorado researcher Richard Johnson, fructose has another side-effect: it increases the desire to eat more and to eat fattier foods.
fat person
A balanced diet that includes fructose-containing fruit and vegetables will not be a problem. It will be difficult to absorb too much fructose with fruit. It is a different matter with products that have added sugar.

In their study, Johnson and colleagues looked at the effects of many different risk factors for obesity and tried to find a common denominator, even in seemingly contradictory circumstances. What the scientists found was that the metabolism of fructose in the body results in lower levels of ATP, or adenosine phosphoric acid. This compound is of great importance for the metabolism of organisms and is a source of energy that powers the biochemical processes that take place in organisms. When ATP levels reach a low enough level, the body is signalled to need more 'fuel'. Our "fuel" is food, so at correspondingly low ATP levels we feel hungry.

According to Johnson, fructose is the unifying factor in many hypotheses and theories about what contributes to obesity - fructose promotes our metabolism to go into 'empty tank' mode, causing us to lose control of our appetite and crave fatty foods. This process is triggered even when the body still has energy reserves in the fat it has already stored.

In some cases, this can even be beneficial. For example, if you are a bear preparing for hibernation and feeding. Then it's good if fructose intake promotes processes that protect the fat already stored - which the body will need as "fuel" during hibernation. But for a person who consumes sugary foods and drinks, this process will do more harm than good.

"This is an evolutionary mechanism that helps animals store fat before an upcoming fasting period. In the short term (e.g. during hibernation) this process helps, but if it becomes chronic, the benefits are replaced by the risk of various harms," the authors of the study write.

Much of the research to date on the role of fructose in the body's metabolism has been based on animal experiments, so Johnson's team recognises that there is still much work to be done before we know exactly all the key risk factors for obesity.
Link to study in National Library of Medicine here.

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