Does sugar make you stupid?

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Effects of sugar consumption on the brain

High sugar consumption affects cognitive abilities. In an experiment with rats, US researchers found that the animals became literally stupid and slow due to an increased intake of fructose. However, the effect can be remedied by the additional intake of omega-3 fatty acids, according to the scientists from the Institute for Integrative Biology and Physiology at the University of California in Los Angeles.

According to the researchers led by Fernando Gomez-Pinilla in the "Journal of Physiology", their studies provide "new evidence of the effects of metabolic disorders on brain function." The metabolic syndrome induced in rats by high fructose intake had a significant impact on the mental Performance of animals. Their study shows that eating habits interact with brain function, according to the US scientists.

Too much fructose affects cognitive performance. At the beginning of their studies, the US researchers trained the rats to cross a labyrinth for five days. The animals were then divided into four groups: one was given a fructose solution to drink during the test period of six weeks and was simultaneously supplied with omega-3 fatty acids, the second was given a fructose solution and no additional omega-3 fatty acids, and the third was normal water and at the same time omega-3 fatty acids and the fourth normal water without additional omega-3 fatty acids. After the end of the test period, the rats should cross the learned labyrinth again. It was found that the rats that received a fructose solution without additional omega-3 fatty acids were noticeably slower to cross the labyrinth than the animals in the other test groups, the US researchers write in the article “Metabolic Syndrome in the Brain” . Rats, which were supplied with omega-3 fatty acids in parallel with the fructose solution, showed no comparable impairments.

Omega-3 fatty acids counteract the negative consequences of sugar consumption According to Gomez-Pinilla and colleagues, the targeted intake of omega-3 fatty acids could counteract the negative effects of high sugar consumption or the "harmful consequences of unhealthy eating habits". The high sugar consumption had adversely affected the cognitive abilities of the animals, but the intake of omega-3 fatty acids was able to restore “metabolic homeostasis” (the metabolic balance), the US researchers continued. (fp)

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