Too much sugar will make you stupid, according to researchers.
The suggestion follows tests in the laboratory comparing high-fructose corn syrup, which is six times sweeter than cane sugar and a common ingredient in processed foods, with omega-3 fatty acids, known to aid memory and learning.
Look at this sugar lover!
In an experiment on rats, one group had a sugary diet for six weeks and another was fed healthily.
At the start of the study, published in the Journal of Physiology, the University of California team tested how well the rats navigated a maze – placing landmarks to help them learn the way.
Six weeks later, the researchers tested the rats’ ability to recall the route.
Study co-author Professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla said the rats fed just a sugary diet were slower and their brains had declined.
He said: ‘Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.
However, the good news is that eating nuts and fish such as salmon can counteract this disruption. Here’s Professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla.
‘Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,’ said Prof Gomez-Pinilla. ‘Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimise the damage.’
While earlier research has revealed how fructose harms the body through its role in diabetes, obesity and fatty liver, this study is the first to uncover how the sweetener influences the brain.
Here’s a major sugar lover:
The researchers were studying the impact of high-fructose corn syrup on rats, who have similar brain chemistry to humans.
The inexpensive liquid is six times sweeter than cane sugar and is commonly added to processed foods such as soft drinks.
We’re not talking about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which also contain important antioxidants,’ said Prof Gomez-Pinilla.
‘We’re concerned about high-fructose corn syrup that is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.’
Prof Gomez-Pinilla and co-author Rahul Agrawal found the brain’s of the rats that each consumed a fructose solution as drinking water for six weeks had changed.
Prof Gomez-Pinilla said: ‘Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier.’
A closer look at the rats’ brain tissue suggested that insulin had lost much of its power to influence the brain cells.
The authors suspect that eating too much fructose could block insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required for processing thoughts and emotions.
However, their study also suggests that eating foods rich in omega-3 regularly could protect the brain from the effects of fructose.
Prof Gomez-Pinilla said: ‘It’s like saving money in the bank. You want to build a reserve for your brain to tap when it requires extra fuel to fight off future diseases.’
Claire Bates, Daily Mail