Dithering over whether you should neck a fizzy drink before eventually succumbing to your craving is a regular occurance for many of us, but would you be as quick to do so if you knew the harrowing effect sugar has on your brain?
According to a recent study, the cognitive changes and effects brought on by drinking sugar were found to be more extensive than the repercussions of extreme early life stress.
Researchers from Sydney Australia and Hyderabad, India have established that the region of the brain which controls emotional behaviour and cognitive function were subject to considerable damage through the consumption of sugary drinks - a revelation which is bound to give many of us pause for thought.
Using female rats as the subject of their study, scientists sought to establish whether early life trauma was exacerbated by the consumption of sugary drinks.
By limiting half of the creatures' nesting material shortly after birth - a move which unsurprisingly alters maternal behaviour and causes anxiety with the infant – researchers then focussed their attention on sugar intake.
At weaning, half the litter were given unlimited access to low-fat food and water, while the other half were given the same but with the addition of a 25% sugar solution which they could choose to drink.
Following a 15-week study, the rats' brains were examined with specific focus on the hippocampus – a region of the brain which controls memory and stress.
Dividing the rats in four groups – those who were not exposed to stress, those who were exposed to stress, those who drank sugar and those who were exposed to stress and drank sugar.
According to the report in The Independent, the results showed that rats who were not exposed to stress, but were consuming sugar experienced similar changes in the hippocampus as rats who were exposed to stress.
Scientists concluded that exposure to stress and the consumption of sugary drinks altered the production of stress hormone, cortisol, which limits the creature's ability to recover from stress.
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