Study: Too Much Sugar Makes You Dumb

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.

“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.”


A closer look at the rat brains revealed that those who were not fed DHA supplements had also developed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates brain function. In other words, 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, condiments, applesauce, baby food and other processed snacks.

While the study did not say what the equivalent might be for a human to consume as much high-fructose corn syrup as the rats did, researchers said it provides some evidence that metabolic syndrome can affect the mind as well as the body. The study appeared in the Journal of Physiology.

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Source: Yahoo News

Image: Mother Nature Work

Does the Caramel Coloring in Colas Cause Cancer?

Lab tests commissioned by a consumer group find that popular colas — including Coke and Pepsi — carry a caramel-coloring chemical that causes cancer in lab animals.

The chemical, 4-methylimidazole or 4-MI, comes from the sodas’ caramel coloring. That color is made not from natural caramel but via a chemical process involving ammonia. While toxicology studies show that 4-MI can cause cancer in lab animals, it’s not clear whether it’s a human carcinogen — or whether the amounts detected in sodas pose any kind of a threat.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in February 2011 petitioned the FDA to ban this kind of caramel coloring. It also wanted the cosmetic additive renamed “chemically modified caramel coloring” or “ammonia-sulfite process caramel coloring.”


The CSPI-commissioned tests detected 4-MI in regular and diet Coca-Cola and Pepsi products — in millionths of a gram per 12-ounce can. CSPI notes that these quantities are several times higher than a controversial benchmark set by the state of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. While the CSPI suggests that 4-MI is causing cancer in thousands of Americans who drink a lot of cola, the FDA says few people should worry.

“A consumer would have to consume well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents,” the FDA tells WebMD. And while it believes 4-MI is a threat, the CSPI says it’s less of a threat than the obesity-promoting high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks.

Source: Web MD

Image: WellBeing