We all know sugary diets can sabotage a waistline. Now it turns out they might make brains flabby too.
Sweet drinks scrambled the memories and stunted learning in lab rats in a new study—leading to “high concern” over what sugary diets may do to people.
For the study, scientists first trained rats to successfully navigate a maze, giving them only water and standard rat food for five days. During the following six weeks, the rats’ water was replaced with syrups that were 15 percent fructose.
Most sodas people consume are about 12 percent sugar, so imagine if you drank soda with sugar added instead of water.
During the six-week period, half the rodents were also given flaxseed oil and fish oil—both rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These antioxidants may protect against damage to chemical connections in the brain called synapses, past research suggests.
After six weeks of the fructose syrup, all the rats were slower at running the maze. However, those that had received omega-3s were slightly faster than their counterparts. Learn more here.