Americans are sucking down an estimated 27 pounds of high fructose corn syrup every year. It’s not news that all that sugar is bad for your health, of course. But now researchers say they’ve uncovered stunning new evidence that fructose, like the kind found in high fructose corn syrup, literally alters hundreds of genes in your brain!
And, researchers say, those mutations could be causing a wide range of diseases.
In fact, it appears that we could be looking at the smoking gun behind countless cases of heart disease, diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the scientists at UCLA.
But the researchers have also uncovered a surprising way to reverse the genetic damage. And, believe it or not, it doesn’t involve a drug.
It turns out the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, can help undo the damage done by the fructose.
We’ll have all the details on that natural cure in a moment, but first let’s take a closer look at fructose and at the details of the study published in the journal EBioMedicine (a joint publication by Cell and The Lancet).
The high fructose corn syrup problem
The majority of fructose in the American diet comes from the cheap sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Made from corn starch, HFCS is in everything from soft drinks to baby food.
That’s a problem because our bodies simply can’t handle the amounts we’re now eating. And since we’re not active enough to use it for fuel, it gets absorbed and becomes fat.
Fructose is also found in fruits and vegetables in moderate amounts. But unlike HFCS natural fructose comes paired with important nutrients and fiber which slows the body’s absorption of it. In other words, all sugars are NOT created the same.
Fructose linked to memory-robbing brain damage!
Researchers from UCLA wanted to find out what other effects fructose could be having on our bodies. They trained a group of rats to solve a maze and then divided them into three groups.
For six weeks the first group of rats drank water laced with an amount of fructose that works out to be about the equivalent of a liter of soda a day in a human.
The second group got the same fructose water but also ate a diet that was high in DHA.
And the last group was the control group that didn’t get any fructose in their water and no DHA.
And the end of the six weeks the rats were set lose to solve the maze again. The results were stunning.
Group #1, the rats that got only fructose water, took TWICE as long to solve the maze as Group #3, the rats that drank only water!
In other words, the fructose has damaged their memory.
The omega-3 fatty acid REVERSED fructose damage
But for the countless folks who are still eating the typical sugar-filled Western diet the next finding is great news. The rats in Group #2 who got both the brain-damaging fructose and the DHA, performed nearly as well as the water-only control rats in Group #3.
Researchers say this strongly points to the DHA having reversed the harmful effects of the fructose!
That’s not all the omega-3 fatty acid did for Group #2 either. The rats which received the fructose water alone had significantly higher blood sugar, triglyceride and insulin levels than both the plain water drinkers AND the fructose and DHA group.
In humans that could translate to protection against diabetes, heart disease, obesity and more. Stunning results on their own, but the research didn’t stop there.
The scientists went on to sequence over 20,000 genes in the rat’s brains, identifying over 900 in which the fructose had caused mutations. According to the study, a wide variety of conditions can be linked to alterations in the equivalent genes in humans, including Parkinson’s bipolar disorder and other brain diseases.
Gene mutations, memory damage, chronic and deadly diseases… the writing is on the wall, a diet high in fructose, such as high fructose corn syrup, does far more than just make you fat. It could kill you.
We suggest you do your best to reduce fructose in your diet and eliminate HFCS altogether. Skip the pre-packaged foods and fix as many home cooked meals with fresh organic ingredients as possible.
Eat plenty of fresh wild caught fish which is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids including the DHA that researchers say could fight off fructose damage. And consider taking an fish-oil supplement as well.
Read labels carefully and be on the lookout out not only for the ingredient names high fructose corn syrup and HFCS but also “fructose” and “fructose syrup.” (Click here to learn more.)