Scientists have discovered why you may experience that feeling of emptiness in your stomach after eating a fruit salad.
In a small experiment, written for the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 24 volunteers consumed a sugary drink sweetened with fructose on one day and glucose on another day. Compared with glucose, the fructose drink led to more hunger and desire for treats such as biscuits and sweets. The findings suggest different sugars may affect us differently. Nutritional experts say more studies are needed.
Fructose is often found in fruits and vegetables, while glucose is known as blood sugar and can be found in major carbohydrates such as starch. Although fructose and glucose have the same calorific value, they are processed differently by the body. Cells in the body regulate the amount of glucose found in order to make energy, whereas fructose is metabolised in the liver and causes seven times as much cell damage as glucose.
As fructose is often used in sweeteners, researchers added that the increasing levels of fructose in our diets could be a contributing factor to the growing levels of obesity in the world.
Recent studies have found that some fruit juices can contain more sugar than soft drink. And, it has been argued that fruit sugar, or fructose, converts directly into fat. This maybe why we see some headlines that eating apples will make you obese and so on. The truth is that even nutritional experts who are concerned about rising sugar levels tend to be pro-fruit.
The key reason for this is that fruit comes with its inherent fibre, and fibre mitigates the negative effects. So, however much sugar is in a piece of fruit, there’s an equal amount of fibre to offset it. Additionally, eating fruit as part of a healthy diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. As always, part of the solution is about moderation and balance.