Sweets Sour Brain Power

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Binging on sweets and soda in an effort to bone up for exams or presentations probably has the opposite effect, according to a new animal study from the University of California, Los Angeles. Researchers found that eating or quaffing too much fructose, like that found in cane sugar and the high-fructose corn syrups permeating many processed foods, can cause unclear thinking, poor learning and impaired memory.

Scientists have long known that high-fructose diets increase the risk for diabetes, obesity and fatty liver. Now the UCLA team has discovered that only six weeks of a high-fructose diet slowed the animals’ brains. The good news is that eating omega-3 fatty acids like those found in cold water fish appear to counteract the negative effects of fructose, enabling the animals to think more clearly.

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