Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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National Obesity Awareness Week Sweet Danger
16 January 2014

Sweet Danger

Overeating any type of food will make you overweight but it seems one type of sugar is worse than other fodder. The culprit is fructose, which along with glucose, is a component of ordinary table sugar. Scientists already knew that fructose increased the likelihood of overeating because it doesn’t trigger the ‘full up’ mechanisms in our brain. And now they’ve found another way fructose can make us overweight – by encouraging the growth of fat cells (pictured) in the liver and stimulating our appetites during the process. This double action can lead to fatty liver disease, obesity and diabetes. What’s more the harmful effects seen in the liver happen even when someone doesn’t overeat. More work is needed to confirm the hypothesis that fructose intake underpins the recent explosion in obesity and diabetes but it’s clear that not all calories are equal.

Written by Julie Webb

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