Lab studies show high-fructose corn syrup can actually sabotage your smarts in just 6 weeks.
Foods that appear to be nutritious could actually be destroying your brainpower. The culprit? A common ingredient slipped into many “healthy” foods, including baby food, applesauce, and oatmeal, a breakfast favorite. Researchers at UCLA found that ingesting foods and drinks containing the ingredient high-fructose corn syrup for just six weeks caused troubling changes in brain function. “Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” says Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, PhD, a professor of neurosurgery and integrative biology and physiology at UCLA. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.”
While high-fructose corn syrup is rampant in soda and candy products, it also hides out in some seemingly innocuous items like bread, juices, ketchup, and instant oatmeal. (Previous studies have found high-fructose corn syrup is sometimes contaminated with mercury.) Most often associated with obesity and diabetes, this latest study, appearing in the Journal of Physiology, shows this industrial food ingredient can harm the brain, too….
3 Rules for Avoiding a High-Fructose Corn Syrup-Derived Brain Drain
#1: Eat organic. If you don’t feel like reading fine-print ingredient labels every time you reach for a product in the supermarket, just look for the organic seal. High-fructose corn syrup and many other harmful food additives are banned. And whatever you do, don’t ditch real fruit, which contains a natural form of fructose, not the dangerous processed type. “We’re not talking about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which also contain important antioxidants,” explains Gomez-Pinilla. “We’re concerned about high-fructose corn syrup that is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.”
Read More: The 9 Nastiest Things in Your Supermarket
#2: Find safer sweet treats. Gomez-Pinilla, a native of Chile and an exercise enthusiast who practices what he preaches, advises people to keep fructose intake to a minimum and swap sugary desserts for fresh berries and Greek yogurt, which he keeps within arm’s reach in a small refrigerator in his office. An occasional bar of dark chocolate that hasn’t been processed with a lot of extra sweetener is fine, too, he adds.
#3: Eat for brain protection. Be sure to eat foods containing naturally robust levels of omega-3 fatty acids, especially if you’ll be indulging in food containing high-fructose corn syrup. Omega-3–rich foods include eggs from pastured hens, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts. DHA, the type of omega-3 that comes from omega-3–rich animal products, helps protect against damage to brain synapses. These synapses are critical to tasks like memory and learning—the very functions that high-fructose corn syrup damages. ”
Nice to see connection with diet and intelligence, though this author misses the enteric brain connection (still par for the course with mainstream science and dieticians unfortunately). But also nice to see in the list at the end flax seeds and walnuts. I have flax seeds in my nearly all-white sandwich loaf (I kg), and all the ‘vollkorn’ / fresh ground loaves and the sprouted loaf. (The flax is purchases ground so is not sprouted but soaked for several days; next time I put in a large order I will get whole flax seeds which will then be sprouted along with everything else.) And of course walnuts (organic, from Kashmir of all places) in the walnut loaf.
HFCS impairs insulin management which has all sorts of nasty systemic side effects. Apart from many other things, it messes up the microbial population in the gut which most definitely has a bad effect not only on digestion, but also enteric brain functions, most of which we still don’t know much about, although Japanese and most Asians have identified that region as the source of most intelligence for millenia. For most of us, we are so inculcated with the belief that intelligence resides only in the brain that we simply cannot grasp the observed scientific fact that more synaptic activity (which this article discusses if you read the whole thing) takes place in the enteric brain (gut region) than the head brain (in the head). We can read it a hundred times but it will make no difference: we all ‘know’ that intelligence is in the brain.
In any case, BUY ORGANIC, BUY ORGANIC, BUY ORGANIC. Even better, buy local stuff made without chemical additives.
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