Sugar and the brain

  • Katie Page et al. (2013) Abdominal fat is associated with a greater brain reward response to high-calorie food cues in Hispanic women. In: Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Oct;21(10): 2029-36. doi: 10.1002/oby.20344. Epub 2013 May 29.
    • Exposure to high-calorie foods promotes overeating by stimulating brain reward pathways and appetite. Interpretation on Page’s homepage: “Dr. Page and team found that obese young adults reported more hunger and a greater desire to eat when they viewed pictures of high-calorie foods such as chocolate cake … These images triggered the appetite and reward centers in the brain, and these neural and behavioral responses to high-calorie food stimuli may promote eating.”
  • Katie Page et al. (2013) Effects of fructose vs glucose on regional cerebral blood flow in brain regions involved with appetite and reward pathways. In: JAMA. 2013 Jan 2;309(1):63-70. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.116975.
    • Study on neurophysiological factors that might underlie associations between fructose consumption and weight gain. Interpretation: see Page, 2015 and the Page’s homepage: “These findings suggest that while glucose suppresses brain activity in regions that promote the desire to eat, fructose may promote overeating through its inability to effectively suppress the desire to seek out food”.
  • Katie Page (2015) Fructose, Glucose, and Your Brain. The Page Lab for Brain Regulation of Appetite Control & Eating Behavior at USC.
    • “Our results suggest that consuming fructose relative to glucose activates brain reward regions and may promote feeding behavior. When volunteers consumed the fructose drink (compared to when they consumed the glucose drink), it led to greater activity in brain reward areas, including the orbitofrontal cortex. Moreover, fructose consumption correlated with greater ratings of hunger and desire for food, as well as a greater willingness to give up long-term money rewards to obtain immediate high-calorie foods.”
  • Quingying Meng et al. (2016) Systems Nutrigenomics Reveals Brain Gene Networks Linking Metabolic and Brain Disorders. In: EBioMedicineVolume 7, May 2016, Pages 157–166.
    • Interpretation in UCLA Newsroom: Fructose alters hundreds of brain genes, which can lead to a wide range of diseases (2016), High fructose intake by rats changed at first two genes in their brains and then, through these changes, more than 700 genes in the hypothalamus (the brain’s major metabolic control center) and more than 200 genes in the hippocampus (which helps regulate learning and memory). This led to memory impairment, much higher blood glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels. “Those results are significant because in humans, elevated glucose, triglycerides and insulin are linked to obesity, diabetes and many other diseases.”