In 2004, Dr. Popkin and his team published an article reporting a correlation between the spread of obesity in the United States and the use of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Since then many scientists have been investigating the relationship between HFCS consumption and the obesity epidemic, but were not able to come up with conclusive evidence of such a connection. However, the effects of fructose, present in HFCS but also in sucrose, our table sugar, are still under study. This research consists of a literature review on how fructose differs from glucose, our body’s favorite fuel, in its metabolism and focuses on how the hunger and satiety hormones respond to it. Hormones, especially insulin, leptin and glucagon, and ghrelin, very closely regulate the metabolism of glucose but do not respond to the presence of fructose. They do not efficiently act on the hunger and satiety cells following the consumption of sugar, thus encouraging overeating and eventually leading to obesity. Because of this lack of regulation fructose is also suspected of being a potential addictive substance. Indeed, studies have been conducted, primarily on rats, showing that fructose can cause effects similar to those of addictive drugs.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2013


Martin L. Brock

Department/Professional Affiliation


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Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars