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Nutrition experts have long debated the primary cause of obesity, with discussions revolving around factors like excessive calorie consumption, specific foods such as carbohydrates or fats, and the role of sugar. However, researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have introduced a unifying theory that links these conflicting ideas to one common factor: fructose.

Breakdown of fructose to ATP contributes to hunger feelings 

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus researcher Dr. Richard Johnson and his team propose that fructose, which is present in high fructose corn syrup and table sugar, plays a central role in the obesity epidemic. It is also important to note that fructose can also result from carbohydrates, especially glucose. Once metabolized in the body, fructose reduces its active energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), leading to increased feelings of hunger and subsequent overeating.

The “fructose survival hypothesis” is a concept that combines various dietary theories on obesity, including the energy balance theory and the carbohydrate-insulin model, which were previously considered contradictory. These theories can now be seen as interconnected, with fructose playing a pivotal role.

Human bodies enter survival mode akin to hibernation when hungry 

According to Dr. Johnson, fructose is the common factor that unites these theories, and it is responsible for triggering a metabolic slowdown and loss of appetite control. However, fatty foods play a significant role in driving weight gain, serving as the primary source of calories in this context. This hypothesis suggests that multiple metabolic and dietary factors contribute to the obesity epidemic, and fructose is the key element that ties them together.

The unifying theory compares human survival mode with hibernating animals, particularly in relation to food and energy consumption. When humans are hungry and low on energy, their bodies enter survival mode, similar to animals preparing for winter by searching for food. High-fructose fruits deplete active energy, while fat serves as stored energy. However, consuming high-fructose foods interferes with replenishing active energy from fat storage, resulting in low active energy levels, like a bear preparing for hibernation.