Sunday, October 26, 2008

High Levels of Fructose May Lead To Overeating

       A recent study from the University of Florida found that rats who ate a diet high in fructose developed leptin resistance, a condition that contributes to overeating. 
     Leptin is a hormone that signals fullness.
     When the rats were given a high-fat, high-calorie diet, the leptin resistant group gained more weight than the others.
     If these results are applicable to humans, they help shed some light on the obesity epidemic in our country. Added sugars are in everything!
     Fructose can be added or natural in foods.
     It's in fruits and fruit juices, cured or breaded meats, sweetened milk, honey, and 
maple syrup, some vegetables and some bread and cereal products, according to the Mayo Clinic.
     It’s also in soft drinks, pastries, ketchup, jellies and many processed foods, according to 
       In food label ingredient lists, sucrose also refers to fructose. Sucrose is white sugar, which contains fructose.
     Of course, high-fructose corn syrup is also major source of fructose. It represents over 40% of the caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
     But for those who decide to watch fructose consumption, it's important to not focus solely on high-fructose corn syrup.
     If someone is specifically trying to avoid high-fructose corn syrup, they may reject a product that contains it for another food with a different type of added sugar.
     If you regularly go out to eat at certain restaurants, look at the ingredients lists available at some restaurants’ websites. For instance, at Burger King’s site, high-fructose corn syrup is listed as an ingredient in the sandwich buns and Tendergrill chicken filet.
     Websites that provided nutrition information, like are also helpful.
     The easiest way to limit fructose is to quit drinking soft drinks.
     Another convenient method would be to switch out reduced-fat or fat-free salad dressings, very high in fructose, for more satiating, regular versions.
     If craving sugar, have some. 
     But if you don’t specifically want something sweet, it might be wise to get an idea of how much fructose you're actually consuming.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What Are You Really Craving?

      Did other colleges just get done with midterms too? Between 4 extracurriculars, my graduate assistantship, and school, I already had to make a concerted effort to blog. I posted way more regularly in the summer, and my blog is aimed at students in college! Then, in the lead-up to midterms, Student Body got even more neglected . Sorry it's been so long!

     I've heard from a few new readers! Thanks for commenting. I hope you look through the categories on the left and find posts that have covered areas of concern. If there's anything you'd like to see covered, please let me know.

     Right now, I'm struggling with recognition of true hunger. I mentioned in my previous post that studying makes me hungry. Since then, I've realized that there is more to it than that.

     Mid-study session, I often feel the urge for a snack. I explained before that mental exertion actually has been shown to lead to hunger. However, I've noticed that a lot of times, I am craving something other than food. For instance, I'm tired, and my body needs to rest. If I don't sleep, I turn to food. 

     It could be simply a need to ease my mind. It might be just a wish to let loose and have fun for a moment, or be social, or just process what I'm learning. But when I'm in study mode, I don't like to give myself permission to take a break. I prefer to plow through and finish, then rest at the end of the day. Yet for some reason, I do give myself permission if it is to eat. After all, I can't just let myself skip meals all day, or I would binge at the end of the day. So I let myself stop, but only if it's for a "good" reason, like eating.

     The problem with this kind of thinking is that there's nothing wrong with taking a break to nap, or relax, or talk, or whatever. Taking a moment for my mental health is just as legitimate as taking time to eat. Food is a necessity, but so is allowing myself to be happy.

     So my goal is to change this kind of thinking, and ask myself what it is that I'm really craving when I start thinking about a snack. I'll let you know how it goes....