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This is your brain on fructose


A diet high in fructose can slow the brain and hamper memory and learning. Luckily, the same research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can stop that disruption.

“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,”explained Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “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.”

Sources of fructose are hard to avoid in the Western diet. Cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and inexpensive liquid sweeteners all contain it. The corn syrup is used in most processed foods, including soft drinks, condiments, applesauce and even baby food. It is used as a sweetener and a preservative. Data from the US Department of Agriculture shows that the average American eats 47 pounds of can sugar and 35 pounds of high-fructose
corn syrup each year.

For their study, the UCLA team trained rats to recognize the path and pitfalls of a specific maze. For the next six weeks two groups were fed specific diets: one contained fructose, the other fructose and omega-3.

The omega-3 group surprised researchers by remembering and navigating the maze faster. “The DHA-deprived animals were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. 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,” stated Gomez-Pinilla.
Additionally, the group showed brain dysfunction based on an inability to use insulin, a hormone that regulates synaptic function in the brain.

Source: ScienceDaily, Journal of Physiology

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