Science Daily reports researchers at Georgia State University determined diets high in fructose (found in most processed foods and beverages) impaired the spatial memory of adult rats.
Rats were placed in a pool of water to test their ability to learn to find a submerged platform, which allowed them to get out of the water. They were returned to the pool two days later with no platform present to see if the rats could remember to swim to the platform’s location.
“What we discovered,” said Marise Parent, associate professor at Georgia State’s Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology, “is that the fructose diet doesn’t affect their ability to learn. But they can’t seem to remember as well where the platform was when you take it away. They swam more randomly than rats fed a control diet.” That implies a deterioration of short term memory.
Foods sweetened with fructose include table sugar, fruit juice concentrates, and high fructose corn syrup. “High intake of fructose is associated with numerous health problems, including insulin insensitivity, type II diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.”