Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes top the list of consequences of downing too much added sugar. Now we can add increased hunger to that list.
Fructose—which is found in fruit but is also added to packaged foods as “high-fructose corn syrup”—more intensely lights up areas of the brain linked to hunger and reward than the glucose that comes from complex carbs like whole grains, beans, and starchy vegetables, a USC study has found.
Some U.K. researchers are even convinced that added sugar plays a bigger role in upping blood pressure—a key contributor to heart disease—than excess salt. (Other scientists believe excess sodium and sugar deserve equal scrutiny, so the matter’s not settled yet.)
Either way, high-fructose corn syrup is still one to avoid, so consider taking store-bought baked goods, sweetened bottled drinks, cereal bars, salad dressings, canned fruit, and sauces (e.g., barbecue sauce) off your kitchen playlist.
Tip: 12 scientists have created a site to teach the public about added sugar’s health impacts. Visit sugarscience.org.