New Research: High-Fructose Corn Syrup Sabotages Learning & Memory

    Syrup dripping off of four spoons against a tan backgroundIt’s hard to find a pantry without high fructose corn syrup. It’s in cereals, salad dressings, baked goods, fruit juices, crackers and even baby formula. And many of us grew up on it, sucking down the sweetener in pitchers of sweetened juice and eating it every morning in our breakfast cereal.

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    A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption.

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    The study focused not on naturally occurring fructose but instead on high-fructose corn syrup, a substance which is a whopping six times sweeter than cane sugar and commonly used in a wide variety of processed foods and soft drinks.

    UCLA Professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, co-author of the study, stated that the rats that were fed the sugary diet showed a marked decline in their speed as well as a noticeable cognitive decline.

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    “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information,” said Professor Gomez-Pinilla. “Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.”

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