Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Craving sugar? Blame your brain

10 December 2014, 14:26

British scientists have found a brain mechanism they think may drive our desire for glucose-rich food and say the discovery could one day lead to better treatments for obesity.

Read: Obese boys become impotent men

In experiments using rats, researchers at Imperial College London found a mechanism that appears to sense how much glucose is reaching the brain and prompts animals to seek more if it detects a shortfall. In people, the scientists said, it may play a role in driving our preference for sweet and starchy foods.

Glucose, a component of carbohydrates, is the main energy source used by brain cells.

"Our brains rely heavily on glucose for energy, . . . but in our evolutionary past it would have been hard to come by. So we have a deep-rooted preference for glucose-rich foods and seek them out," said James Gardiner, who led the study and published its findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on Monday.

Appetite-regulating centre

Gardiner's team started with a hypothesis that an enzyme called glucokinase, involved in sensing glucose in the liver and pancreas, might play a role in driving glucose desire. Glucokinase is found in part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which regulates various functions including food intake.

In their experiments they first found that when rats go 24 hours without eating, glucokinase activity in an appetite-regulating centre in the hypothalamus increases sharply.

Read:Obese people targeted by cyberbullies

The rats were given access to a glucose solution as well as their normal food pellets, called chow. When the researchers increased the activity of glucokinase in the hypothalamus using a virus, rats consumed more glucose in preference to chow. When glucokinase activity was reduced, they consumed less glucose.

Gardiner suggested that in people it might be possible to reduce glucose cravings by changing the diet, and said a drug that could act on this system may potentially prevent obesity.

"People are likely to have different levels of this enzyme, so different things will work for different people," he said in a statement about the study.

"For some people, eating more starchy foods at the start of a meal might be a way to feel full more quickly by targeting this system, meaning they eat less overall."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/12jOcxC Journal of Clinical Investigation, December 8, 2014.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...