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Can Sugar Make You Dumb?

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Washington – According to a new study, eating too much sugar can eat away at your brainpower. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles found that a steady diet of high-fructose corn syrup exhausted lab rats' memories.

Researchers fed two groups of rats a solution containing high-fructose corn syrup as drinking water for six weeks. One group of rats was given brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids while the other group was not.

At the beginning of the study, the rats were put through a five-day training session in a complicated maze. After six weeks on the sugar solution, the rats were placed back in the maze to test their brainpower.

The rats' brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting their ability to think clearly and recall the route they had learned six weeks earlier.

The group that was not fed omega-3 fatty acids also developed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates brain function.

Researchers concluded that eating too much fructose could interfere with insulin's ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar, which is necessary for processing thoughts and emotions.

High-fructose corn syrup is commonly found in soda, baby food and other processed snacks.

The average American consumes more than 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup each year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

The study appeared in the Journal of Physiology.

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