From time to time I catch up on the Bulletproof Executive blog by Dave Asprey, and recently came across his presentation of a study done on rats about the effects of fructose on the brain. In the study, they fed rats this rat chow along with water and trained them in a maze twice a day for five days. At the end of the five days, they replaced their water with a fructose solution for the next six weeks. Also, they gave half the rats DHA, which is a fatty acid that is necessary for transmitting between brain cells and creating new nerve tissue. This was done in hope that it would slow the effects of fructose on the brain.
After six weeks, the rats with just the fructose solution took much longer to navigate the maze and were also insulin resistant. The rats that also had DHA where faster at the maze than the ones that were deprived of the omega-3 fatty acid. There were also still sensitive to insulin which is tied to brain function and memory. So while the fructose still had a negative effect on the brain function of the rats, the fatty acids helped to minimize the damage.
So what can we learn from this study? Not only does too much fructose lead to issues like obesity, diabetes, high triglycerides, liver disease, etc., it hurts your brain function and memory. We also learned that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can help minimize those effects. For a more detailed explanation of the study, read Dave Asprey’s blog post on the topic.