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High-sugar Diet Is ‘As Damaging To The Brain As Extreme Stress Or Abuse’, Study Finds


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It is clear as sea to all that fizzy drinks are not only harmful to one’s teeth but also the stomach. Research involving the usual subjects, rats, now suggests that sugar may cause unprecedented damage to the brain. Researchers concluded that they discovered more changes in the parts of the brain which are responsible for the cognitive behaviour and emotional function. It is no secret that when people go through some bad experiences in life, they can be exposed to psychiatric disorders as well as deteriorating mental health in future. For instance, child abuse could mentally scar one for life.

With the rats under observation, the researchers investigated if the stress on their brains increased when they were fed great volume of sugary beverages. Researchers especially tested on female Sprague-Dawley rats due to the assumption that females are more likely to go through bad experiences in life. Just to replicate abuse, half of the newborn litter was given limited nesting treatment from the second to ninth day following birth. Subsequently, they were sent back to usual breeding until the time they weaned. Researchers discovered that this treatment not only boosted anxiety among the new-borns but also changed maternal behaviour.

Half of the litter was fed immeasurable amounts of low-fat chow as well as water whereas the other group had chow and 25 percent of sugar solution. The rats which were known to have gone through early life stress seemed smaller during weaning. However, the parity in size eventually decreased to zero as time wore on. Rats which fed on sugar consumed more and more calories as the experiment progressed. Both the groups were closely observed till the time they attained an age of 15 weeks. At that stage, the part of the brain responsible for stress and memory ‘hippocampus’ was examined.

It was discovered that abnormal consumption of sugar among those rats that did not go through early life stress led to similar variations on hippocampus as that on the group which was stressed. Stress at an early stage of life resulted in the dilution of the receptor which binds stress hormone cortisol. This hormone has an impact on one’s ability to come back to normality from a situation of stress. Given that the consumption of sugar or even stress at early stages of life can dilute this part of brain development, these issues merit greater attention by all and sundry.

Also Read: A Man Had His Body Photoshopped To Show Different Beauty Standards Around The World.

Hassan Aftab

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