Can Eating Candy Make You Stupid?


It just might, according to a UCLA study. Last night kids all over the country went out trick-or-treating and brought home piles of candy. Besides the obvious health issues with eating large quantities of candy like obesity and diabetes, all that sugar may have an impact on your child’s ability to think, something your child’s math tutor or school teachers won’t appreciate!

We’ve all seen it before. Go to a birthday party and the kids get cake, ice cream, and sugary sodas. Chaos ensues. The sugar seems to amp up the activities to a fever pitch.

Of course, the party itself may play a role in the excitement. Being around friends, playing games and the special occasion come together to increase excitement. The sugar is just icing on the cake, pardon the pun.

But now, researchers have found some important linkage between diet and the ability to think. Not only does a high fructose diet impair the ability to remember things and act quickly, but the reverse is also true. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids tend to counteract the effect.

The research was done by training rats in a maze. The rats that were fed a high fructose diet had a much more difficult time navigating the maze, than the rats that were fed the high omega-3 fatty acid diet. The details are interesting and a good read.

The study found that: “The second group of rats navigated the maze much faster than the rats that did not receive omega-3 fatty acids,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. “The DHA-deprived animals were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier.”

Yet another reason to make sure your child eats a healthy diet, full of omega-3 fatty acids.

Maybe fish as “brain food” wasn’t just an old wives tale after all.