Can Sugar Make You Stupid?

How to stop sugar from doing too much damage.

sugarphoto credit: shutterstock

Addicted to your daily sugar fix? You might want to reconsider it if you have any upcoming presentations, assignments or activities that require brainpower.

It turns out sugar not only plays a role in obesity; it also plays a role in stupidity.

A new UCLA rat study shows that a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning, according to Science Daily.

“Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new,” says Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science.

Want to stay smart? It’s not just table sugar you need to avoid.

“We’re concerned about high-fructose corn syrup that is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative,’ says Gomez-Pinilla.

In other words, reading ingredients on packaged goods is essential. High-fructose corn syrup is found in nearly all processed foods, so you could be consuming it without knowing it.

Don’t want to give up processed sugar despite evidence it’s bad for your body and brain?

Just make sure you also eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. According to the same study, regular consumption of foods like walnuts and flaxseed can help protect the brain from fructose’s damaging effects.

Alternatively, eat fruit and natural sugars to get your fix and avoid damaging sugars entirely.