Breaking news: High fructose corn syrup may kill brain cells - study

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Saturday Oct 12, 2013 ( -- A new study in Folia Neuropathology suggests that drinking beverages or eating processed foods loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or even sucrose may kill a high number of some neurons in part of the brain.

A.  Rafati and colleagues from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Shiraz, Iran conducted the study and found male rats drinking 10% fructose solution for six weeks lowered the volume of nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) and the number of neurons in this region by 41%.

Nucleus tractus solitarius  is the major region for the cardiovascular regulation including the baroreceptor reflex.  The study was intended to examine how fructose, which is found in sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (now called corn sugar), affects the NTS.

However, the fructose solution did not cause any significant changes in glucose, triglyceride cholesteorl and insulin levels.  Drinking the fructose solution did not change the glucose tolerance test results.

The researchers concluded "Consumption of high fructose solution for six weeks led to a decrement in the volume and number of the neurons in the NTS in rats."

An early study led by Princeton University scientists shows that fructose is more obesogenic than glucose, meaning that eating fructose is riskier than eating glucose in terms of the risk in developing obesity.  

The problem is that it is harder for the body to metabolize fructose compared with the metabolism of glucose. Fructose is only metabolized in the liver and therefore, for one thing, overloading fructose in the liver by drinking beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or sucrose can cause hepatic damage. (DL)

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