It’s no secret that sugar can wreck all sorts of havoc on your body. If you frequently reach for the cookie jar or guzzle down a can of pop, then you greatly increase your risk for weight gain, diabetes and even cancer. This has all been backed up by years of research. However, up until now, very little study has been done on the effects of sugar on the brain.
A new research suggests that frequently giving in to your sweet tooth may actually “make you dumb”. However, this can be counteracted by a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The study was done in UCLA and consisted of lab rats that spent six weeks eating foods that were either rich in omega-3s, deficient in omega-3s, or foods high in fructose corn syrup.
The rats were then placed in a maze. The ones that had a high omega-3 diet outperformed the others in navigating their way to the end. The mice with a high sugar diet performed the worst.
The findings also showed that the mice that lacked omega-3s exhibited a decline in synaptic activity, which is vital for memory and processing new information.
The study, however, was done with artificially manufactured sugar. Naturally occurring fructose like those found in fruits or cane sugar is actually high in antioxidants and beneficial for your body. It’s the processed sweeteners that you have to be on the watch out for.
While fish and other foods high in omega-3s may be able to nullify the effects of fructose, the best course of action is to drastically cut down on sugar intake.
This study gives you another reason to eat artificially sweetened foods in moderation. If you want to keep your brain sharp, then you need to slap your own hand the next time you decide to reach for that extra helping of pie.