Sucrose drinks instead of glucose ones may negatively affect hunger-regulating hormones in young adults
Due to the flak high-fructose corn syrup receives, many soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices, candies and cereals now contain sucrose instead and therefore its consumption has increased in recent years
It’s a well-known fact that consuming large or excess amounts of sugar can cause a plethora of health issues ranging from diabetes and obesity to fatty liver disease and heart disease. But what you may not know is that not all sugars are the same. There are essentially four types of sugar: glucose, fructose, sucrose and lactose. Each of these types of sugars is found in different foods and have different compositions and functions. For example, lactose is the type of sugar found in dairy products and people sensitive to lactose cannot break down and absorb it properly.
Glucose, sucrose and fructose
While lactose is found in dairy, glucose, fructose and sucrose are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a number of other foods. Fructose is the sweetest of these sugars and yet it’s glucose — a monosaccharide — that your body prefers the most as a building block of carbohydrates and therefore energy. Sucrose, a disaccharide, is a combination of one fructose molecule and one glucose molecule. Their range of sweetness apart, these three sugars have a very different impact on your metabolic function and health.
A study published in Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews explains that glucose and related pancreatic hormones like insulin and glucagon have a major role to play in how monogastric mammals (those with a single-chambered stomach) regulate their hunger and satiety levels, thereby determining how much people eat and how well it’s absorbed. Another study published in Frontiers in Nutrition in 2015 explains that while glucose and fructose are both equally important, fructose consumption has shot up in recent decades because of the development of high-fructose corn syrup (HCFS).
HCFS is a commercial sugar additive with a very high concentration of fructose. Not only does it mess up your body’s hunger-satiety balance but it also increases inflammation and the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. While people may be more aware of these harmful effects of high fructose consumption, the same cannot be claimed about sucrose consumption. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism throws much-needed light on how sucrose affects hunger-regulation in the body.
Effects of sucrose on appetite-regulation
Due to the flak HCFS receives these days, many soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices, candies and cereals now contain sucrose instead. The consumption of sucrose, which is also known as table sugar, has therefore increased in recent years. The new study set out to examine if this new additive in popular drinks consumed by young adults has the same effect on ghrelin (the hunger hormone), insulin and glucagon as glucose drinks do.
The study included 69 adults aged 18 to 35 years, 29 of whom were men. On two separate occasions, the participants had to consume 300ml drinks with either 75g of glucose or sucrose. Their blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and then again at intervals of 10, 35 and 120 minutes after having the drinks. Their samples were examined for plasma glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide and acyl-ghrelin measures. The researchers found that while the suppression of the hormone ghrelin was similar for both drinks, sucrose had less of an effect on insulin and glucagon. They also observed that obese participants had a smaller increase in blood glucose levels after drinking the sucrose drink, indicating that their satiety was lesser in comparison. Men also demonstrated lesser glucagon response after consuming the sucrose drink, suggesting a similar reduction in satiety.
The researchers thus concluded that sucrose drinks interfere with the proper production of hunger and satiety-related hormones in the body. Not only do they suggest, as a result of their findings, that sucrose consumption should be reduced or tightly regulated but also that individual factors like obesity and male sex can further exacerbate the ill-effects of sucrose consumption via drinks.
For more information, read our article on First aid for low blood sugar.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Government policies that increase final retail price of sugary drinks by at least 20% would lead to proportional reduction in consumption of such products.