New study shows high-fructose corn syrup slows brain function and recovery

UCLA neuroscientists report that a diet high in processed fructose prohibits recovery from traumatic brain injuries, based on a recent study involving rats.

Fructose typically occurs naturally in fruit, along with fiber and a wide array of nutrients – this is not the fructose used in the study. The fructose used in the study is a highly processed, highly concentrated fructose derived from corn.

In the study, scientists first trained the rats for five days how to get in and out of a maze, while being fed standard rat chow. Then for six weeks, the rats were given either plain water or water infused with the processed fructose, in concentrations that mimic average human consumption.

After being anesthetized and receiving a pulse of fluid to simulate an injury, the rats were given another six weeks. Then, researchers tested their ability to recall the maze.

Rats that were fed the fructose water took 30% longer to find their way out of the maze than their water-consuming counterparts.

In a press release, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla from UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine stated, “We found that processed fructose inflicts surprisingly harmful effects on the brain’s ability to repair itself after a head trauma.”

Their findings also suggest that processed fructose altered a number of biological processes, interfering with neurons’ abilities to communicate, to record memories and even to produce enough energy for basic functions.

Many studies have shown that highly processed fructose like corn syrup isn’t good for the rest of the body, is it any surprise that it’s bad for the brain, too?


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