Your Brain on Fructose: Eating or drinking fructose appears to cause changes in the brain that can lead to overeating, new research finds.

Yale University researchers use brain imaging to find that fructose triggers regions of

the brain that increase appetite. On the other hand, when the researchers analyzed the brain's reaction after subjects ate glucose, the scans showed people had increased levels of hormones that can make them feel full.

Fructose, sweeter than glucose, is often manufactured from sugar cane, beets and corn. Fructose is often  added to processed foods and drinks, and

consumption has risen dramatically since the 1970s — along with obesity.

The study sample size was small (only 20 subjects), so the results are hardly conclusive. However, it was the first brain imaging study to compare the reactions to glucose and fructose and the findings and their possible role in the obesity epidemic warrant further research.

"This increased intake of added sugar containing fructose over the

past several decades has coincided with the rise in obesity in the

population, and there is strong evidence from animal studies that this

increased intake of fructose is playing a role in this phenomenon," Jonathan Purnell, of the Oregon Health and Science University in

Portland told HealthDay.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.