High fructose corn sugar affects adolescent brain.

cornsyrupUniversity of California Scientists scientists have published a new study specifying that adolescents are at an increased risk of suffering adverse health effects upon consuming sugar sweetened beverages containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

The study published in the journal Hippocampus investigated the impact of consuming sugars on adolescent rats and found memory problems, brain inflammation and a metabolism that was pre-diabetic. Adult rats fed the sugary drinks nor adolescent rats who did not consume sugar had the same issues.

The total calorie intake of the rats was from sugar or HCFS. On average these types of sugars make up about 17 percent of the total caloric intake of teens in the U.S. on average.

The intellectual performance of the rats was tested in a maze to investigate their spacial memory ability. Adolescent rats that had consumed the sugary beverages, particularly HFCS, performed worse on the test than any other group — which may be the result of the neuroinflammation detected in the hippocampus, Scott Kanoski corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said.

“The brain is especially vulnerable to dietary influences during critical periods of development, like adolescence,” said Kanoski.

“Consuming a diet high in added sugars not only can lead to weight gain and metabolic disturbances, but can also negatively impact our neural functioning and cognitive ability.” Kanoski said. Next, Kanoski and his team plant to see how different monosaccharides (simple sugars) and HFCS affect the brain.


Ted M. Hsu, Vaibhav R. Konanur, Lilly Taing, Ryan Usui, Brandon D. Kayser, Michael I. Goran, Scott E. Kanoski. Effects of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup consumption on spatial memory function and hippocampal neuroinflammation in adolescent rats. Hippocampus, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/hipo.22368

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