By: staff Date: 04/5/2018
Too much sugar in the diet leads to obesity for humans: if we drink a can of soda pop (which is mostly high fructose corn syrup), the fructose is converted into fat by our livers; drink too many too often, and we end up gaining weight. But for hummingbirds, sugar isn’t something to eat sparingly: it is a source of power! Because of their simple, sugar rich diet, hummingbirds have adapted the ability to fuel their muscles with fructose without first converting it to fat - a feat unique among vertebrates. We do not yet know for sure how they process it so fast, though experiments have demonstrated that they do indeed possess this amazing capability. How fast, you ask? Their metabolisms are so extreme, a human-sized hummingbird would have to drink a can of soda pop every minute in order to gain weight!