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  • Fructose may increase appetite by lowering leptin and increasing ghrelin

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:27 am Email this article
    A dramatic increase in the consumption of hIgh-fructose corn syrup in recent years may help explain the recent obesity epidemic as explained in previous articles. One of the reasons may be that fructose does not stimulate the release of insulin the way that glucose does and thus does not stimulate the release of leptin according to a paper from researchers at the University of California, Davis.

    Secretion of leptin, a hormone released by fat cells which decrease appetite, is regulated by insulin-controlled glucose metabolism.

    Therefore, consuming fructose rather than glucose lowers leptin levels.

    In this study they found that on days that subjects were fed high-fructose corn syrup as compared to days that they were fed high glucose sweetened meals, their leptin levels were 33 percent lower during the first twelve hours, and an average of 21 percent lower for the entire day.

    Lower leptin levels could lead to a greater calorie intake.

    They also found that on days subjects were fed glucose-sweetened meals, levels of the hormone ghrelin were suppressed by approximately 30 percent for two hours following a meal, however this was not the case when they were fed high-fructose corn syrup-sweetened meals.

    Ghrehlin is a hormone, produced primarily by the stomach, that increases food intake and is thought to play a role in the long-term regulation of body weight.

    Thus, higher ghrelin levels following meals containing high-fructose corn syrup could also increase calorie intake.

    “Because insulin and leptin, and possibly ghrelin, function as key signals to the central nervous system in the long-term regulation of energy balance, decreases of circulating insulin and leptin and increased ghrelin concentrations, as demonstrated in this study, could lead to increased caloric intake and ultimately contribute to weight gain and obesity during chronic consumption of diets high in fructose,” the authors of the study concluded.


    Teff K, Elliott S, Tschop M, Kieffer T, Rader D, Heiman M, Townsend R, Keim N, D’alessio D, Havel P. Dietary fructose reduces circulating insulin and leptin, attenuates postprandial suppression of ghrelin, and increases triglycerides in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jun, 89(6):2963-72.


    P. Havel
    Department of Nutrition
    University of California, Davis
    One Shields Avenue
    Davis, California 95616
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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