Are Sugary Snacks Making Us Dumb?
Everyone knows that sweets can impact your waistline, but a new study published in the Journal of Physiology says sugar can actually affect your intelligence, as well.
The study’s authors fed water mixed with fructose to two different groups of rats over a period of six weeks, while supplementing one group’s diet with omega-3 fatty acids. Turns out, the rats who received only sugar water completed a maze much slower than those who also received omega-3.
According to the researchers, the rats on a sugar-only diet entered a state of insulin resistance. Since insulin facilitates memory in the brain, they were unable to recall the route through the maze that they learned at the beginning of the test.
The rats who received omega-3, however, were able to successfully negotiate the maze despite their high sugar diet. Although researchers couldn’t entirely explain the fatty acid’s protective qualities, they thought it may be interacting on a molecular level with omega-3 already present in the brain.
Still, there is some good news for those with a sweet tooth. Researchers noted it would probably take years of fructose exposure to cause the same result in humans, and people could always seek to mitigate sugar’s negative effects by taking fish oil supplements rich in omega-3.