There is a piece of research that people have asked me about, and I'd like to talk about it today.
A recent study from UCLA took a look at sugar (specifically fructose) as it compared to omega-3 fatty acids as far as memory and learning are concerned.
Now, we all know that sugar isn't healthy for us, especially not fructose. I often refer my patients to a brief article on 60-minutes that was done on the dangers of fructose. Dr. Robert Lustig is one of the few doctors in traditional medicine who is really researching the dangers of sugar-intake, and his findings support the teachings of the alternative medicine field: Sugar is Dangerous to your body.
So what does that have to do with the UCLA study?
Well, we've known that sugar was bad for your body and especially your waistline, but this new study has shown that
sugar may even be bad for your brain.
Groups of rats were fed for six weeks on either a fructose solution, a flaxseed (omega-3) supplement, or on plain water. After six weeks, the rats were all trained to complete a maze. The results were profound. The rats who were given omega-3 supplementation had the best results in learning and executing the maze exercise. The rats who were given water came in second, and the rats who had consumed fructose regularly came in dead last.
So which forms of fructose are going to affect you?
Well, both high-fructose corn syrup and other added forms of fructose are dangerous. I am far less concerned about the fructose from natural sources, such as fruits and vegetables, due to the amount of fiber in those foods which helps to lessen the impact of that fructose on our blood sugar levels.
Even still, a good rule of thumb is to eat two servings of vegetables for every one serving of fruit. Also, avoid fruit juices that have any added sugars. I choose to dilute even the natural fruit juices, to lessen the impact of their natural fructose, since the juices lack the fiber of the whole fruit.
So, the next time you have the temptation to eat something that has been sweetened with extra sugar, consider the long term effects on your mind before you munch.
Reference: R. Agrawal, F. Gomez-Pinilla. â€˜Metabolic syndrome' in the brain: deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signalling and cognition. The Journal of Physiology, 2012; 590 (10): 2485 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078 View Article.
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