More evidence shows that excessive sugar consumption leads to health problems as new research published in the Journal of Physiology shows a strong connection between sugar and the brain’s ability to learn and remember.
Conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, the research team found that high-fructose corn syrup—which is six times sweeter than cane sugar—rapidly decreased cognitive function in as few as six weeks, altering the brain’s ability to perform critically in executing memory and basic learning skills.
Americans consume some 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year on average. It is widely found in fast food, junk food, candy and even baby food. The study also noted that fructose coming from fruit sugars is not a serious concern as fruits provide a number of important healthy nutrients, but too much sugar, as in fruit juice, can also have similar effects.
The researchers also noted that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can actually reverse the damage of excessive sugar consumption. Flaxseed oil and DHA protect the brain and promote chemical connections that enable memory and learning. Omega fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and must come from diet. Americans who typically over-consume HFCS are also more likely to eat a diet heavy in excessive unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and animal products. Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory (omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory). Too much omega-6 in one’s diet is connected with increased risk of high cholesterol, hypertension, stroke and heart disease.
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