May 18 2012

Latest Sugar Study Has Little To Do With Sugar

Julie Gunlock

National Review Online

Time for more terrifying food headlines. Today, Drudge links to a story about the latest food study that makes me want to run out and eat a dozen Krispy Kremes. This one says sugar makes you dumb. Sugar? I thought living in a red state made you dumb…and watching Fox News? Goodness…it’s so hard to keep track of these studies.

Anyway, be patient with this me; I put a little sugar in my coffee this morning so clearly this won’t be my best work.

The study, conducted by researchers at UCLA and released this week, found lab rats got dumber after being fed a diet of sugar…except that sugar wasn’t the only thing those chubby little rats got to eat. The study was simple: a group of rats was fed a water solution containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The rats were then divided into two groups; one group continued to get the HFCS-treated water, the other was given omega-3 fatty acids along with the HFCS-treated water. Then both rats groups were observed.

Surprise! The rats given the fatty acids performed better than the rats deprived of the fatty acids.

This is news? I’ve had three children and with each pregnancy, my doctor drilled it into my head the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for my baby’s brain development. Is it really a surprise to these doctors that the rats given the fatty acids performed better?

We don’t really need a study for this, do we? Common sense should tell you that your diet should be rich in healthy food — like fish that contains omega 3 fatty acids. Studies like these that rely on stuffing animals exclusively with one substance tell us little about the real-world impact of an occasional surgery treat.

Yet it appears, the study’s researchers are focused on the villain food du jour — sugar. In fact, the study’s lead researcher, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, summed up the study’s findings by saying “our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body.” Or….it could be that we have more proof that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your noggin.

But that scientific discovery might not get the headlines (or an interview on 60 Minutes).

 

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