New York: Consuming a diet high in added sugar could not only lead to weight gain among kids, but could also negatively affect their memory, suggested a study.
"The brain is especially vulnerable to dietary influences during critical periods of development, like adolescence," said Scott Kanoski, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Southern California in the US.
Studying rats as model subjects, scientists found that adolescents were at an increased risk of suffering negative health effects from sweetened beverage consumption.
Adolescent rats that freely consumed large quantities of liquid solutions containing sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in concentrations comparable to popular sweetened beverages experienced memory problems and brain inflammation, and also became pre-diabetic.
Neither adult or adolescent rats, who did not consume sugar, faced the same issues.
The rats were then tested in mazes that probed their spatial memory ability.
"Adolescent rats that had consumed the sugary beverages, particularly HFCS, performed worse on the test than any other group - which may be the result of the neuro-inflammation detected in the hippocampus," Kanoski pointed out.
The hippocampus is a part of the temporal lobe located deep within the brain that controls memory formation.
The study appeared in the journal Hippocampus.