Too much high-fructose corn syrup could do more than just make you fat: It could also make you stupid. A new study on rats found that after just six weeks on a high-fructose diet, the rats’ brain synaptic activity had been so affected that they had trouble recalling a maze route they had learned, LiveSciencereports. However, a second group of rats had also received omega-3 fatty acids and was able to navigate the maze much faster after six weeks, suggesting that might be one way to protect yourself against the damages of high fructose.
“We’re not talking about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which also contain important antioxidants,” says a researcher in a statement. “We’re concerned about high-fructose corn syrup that is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.” The rats on the high-fructose diet with no added omega-3 fatty acids developed insulin resistance, and researchers believe that could have in turn harmed brain cells. But the omega-3 fatty acids are believed to either protect this damage or heal it, and the researcher recommends one gram per day.