We already know what sugar can do to our bodies, but a new study now thinks it knows what can happen when the sweet stuff hits our brains.
Researchers Jayanthi Maniam and Margaret Morris published their study in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience after running tests on rats. The result? Sugary drinks can be just as damaging as being exposed to extreme types of stress or abuse.
"The changes we observed to the region of the brain that controls emotional behaviour and cognitive function were more extensive than those caused by extreme early life stress," researchers wrote in the The Sydney Morning Herald.
To conduct the study, researchers studied female Sprague-Dawley rats and gave half the rats water and low-fat chow, while the other half got chow, water and a 25 per cent sugar solution. The report found rats who consumed sugar even ate more calories over the course of the experiment.
"We found that chronic consumption of sugar in rats who were not stressed produced similar changes in the hippocampus [part of the brain that is important for memory and stress] as seen in the rats who were stressed but not drinking sugar," the wrote in the paper.
Although this study wasn't based on human research and was very specific in its findings, health experts will tell you an excessive amount of sugar can lead to other health issues like high blood pressure or weight gain.
If you're constantly craving the sweet stuff, you may be over-eating carbohydrates, says registered dietitian Nicole Osinga of Oshawa, Ont.
And of course, cutting out sugar fully isn't something everyone wants to do, so we suggest checking out some of these healthy food swaps.
Watch the video above to find out what else researchers found.
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