High fructose corn syrup is a popular and inexpensive sweetener used in many processed foods such as breakfast bars, yogurts, bread, lunch meat and soup. It is also widely found in beverages such as juice and soft drinks.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the differing effects of fructose and glucose on blood flow to the brain using magnetic resonance imaging in 20 healthy volunteers. Glucose consumption reduces blood flow to the areas of the brain that control appetite and reward-seeking behavior. In comparison, fructose does not have an effect on those brain pathways, nor does fructose consumption raise blood sugar and insulin as glucose does.

It is almost as if high-fructose foods contain stealth calories. Even after they have been eaten, the brain and body can’t recognize them as nourishing, so the person doesn’t feel satiated. This offers support to the argument that fructose in the food supply is helping drive the obesity epidemic.

[Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 2, 2012]

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Barb M.

    I have Type II diabetes, and high fructose corn syrup not only raises my blood sugar sky high, but also keeps it there for a very long time. I don’t know how your quoted article can say it has no effect on blood sugar.

  2. Liz H

    The corn syrup doesn’t just have a high concentrations of glucose. High fructose corn syrup is a somewhat different substance than the fructose in fruit.

  3. CL

    Some scientists suggest that the fiber in real fruit alters in a good way the metabolism of fructose, making an orange much healthier than orange juice.

  4. L. L. A.

    what about fruit? isn’t that also fructose albeit not High fructose?

  5. MR

    It would also appear to me that one of the most insidious habits many people have is sipping a soda throughout the day. Anyone who learns the five rules of the leptin diet will know why eating between meals, or taking in liquid calories between meals, can lead to leptin resistance, diabetes, and all sorts of metabolic dysfunction. The hormone leptin and how to keep it in balance is so important, I think it should be taught in school.

  6. Nelson

    I do not understand. Fructose comes from fruit. Is this article claiming that snacking on fruit also leads to “stealth” calories, or is it just high-fructose that does?

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.