So evidently eating a bit too much sugary treats can weaken your brain. According to some US scientists who just conducted an experiment on the very subject, showed how a steady diet of high fructose corn syrup depleted lab rat’s memories.
Researchers at UCLA (University of California Log Angeles) fed two different group of rats a liquid containing high-fructose corn syrup – which is a common ingredient in processed foods for about six weeks.
Now one of the aforementioned group of rats was fed with brain-boosting omega 3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), whereas the other was not.
Before the sugar drinks began, the rats were enrolled in a five-day training session in a intricate maze. After six weeks on the sweet solution, the rats were then placed back in the maze to see how they performed.
“The DHA-deprived animals were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
“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 rat brains revealed that those who were not fed DHA supplements had also developed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates brain function.
“Because insulin can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, the hormone may signal neurons to trigger reactions that disrupt learning and cause memory loss,” Gomez-Pinilla said.
In other words, eating too much fructose could interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar, which is necessary for processing thoughts and emotions.
“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Gomez-Pinilla.
“Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.”