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Scientists Say Sugar May Cause Overeating

Posted at: 01/02/2013 8:52 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2013 10:20 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Improving your health is always a popular new year's resolution. A new study out suggests sugary foods can do more than just add calories to your diet.

Scientists have warned for years that eating sugary foods can leave us with unwanted calories, but now some say those same foods can actually leave us wanting more.

In a new study released Wednesday, a group of researchers found that after people drank a beverage high in fructose sugar, their brains did not register the feeling of being full, which could lead to overeating and obesity.

And while fructose does occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables, dietitians say there's still cause for concern.

"In the fruit you actually get fiber which slows down the absorption and you get a lot of other vitamins and minerals from that," said Jen Haugen, registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Austin. "So there's definitely a difference between the natural fructose and the processed form of fructose."

That processed fructose is in more than just sweets. High-fructose corn syrup can be found in things like mayonnaise, cereal, and even bread. Which means being a health-conscious shopper takes time.

"When I shop I look at all the labels and read everything that's in them and then I make a decision on if I'm going to buy it or not," said shopper Mary Ann Levine.

And while the new research does not prove that sugars like fructose cause obesity, experts say it's likely that they are a contributing factor.

While most agree that more research is needed, dietitians say your best bet is to just steer clear of synthetic sugars all together.

"I think just eating in a more simple way where you're actually eating food and not lots of chemicals and things like that is definitely going to be good," Haugen said.

If you're trying to cut back on the sweets, keep this in mind, The American Heart Association recommends women limit their added sugar intake to 100 calories a day, and that men get no more than 150 calories from sugar.