May 16, 2012 11:12 PM GMT
Eating too much sugar can eat away at your brainpower, according to US scientists who published a study Tuesday showing how a steady diet of high-fructose corn syrup sapped lab rats' memories.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) fed two groups of rats a solution containing high-fructose corn syrup -- a common ingredient in processed foods -- as drinking water for six weeks.
One group of rats was supplemented with brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the other group was not.
Before the sugar drinks began, the rats were enrolled in a five-day training session in a complicated maze. After six weeks on the sweet solution, the rats were then placed back in the maze to see how they fared.
"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."