We know that sugar has an undesirable effect on our waistline, but now TIME Magazine reports that fructose may mess with they way our brains process rewards.
In a small study of 24 people published in the journal PNAS, researchers found that fructose — which we primarily consume as an added sweetener in processed foods — was associated with activity in some areas of the brain that process rewards.
>> Read more: This Is Your Brain on Sugar
The researchers gave the volunteers cherry-flavored drinks that were sweetened with fructose on one day and drinks sweetened with glucose on another day, and asked them to report their hunger levels.
Neuroimaging scans of the participants showed more activity in the orbitofrontal cortex and visual cortex of their brains, which are involved in reward processing, when they looked at images of food after they ingested fructose compared to glucose.0comments
The researchers also showed the men and women images of high-calorie foods and asked if they would like to have food now, or if they would like a monetary bonus later on. When drinking fructose, the individuals were more likely to say they wanted the food reward right away rather than money later on.
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