Researchers recently found that children who drink sugary drinks are likely to have a high risk of memory issues later in life.

Researchers recently found that children who drink sugary drinks are likely to have a high risk of memory issues later in life.

A Mail Online report said that American researchers provided rats with a sugary drink. When the said animals turned adults, they were given two memory tests to compare their performance.

As a result, the study authors discovered the hippocampus, an area of the brain essential to memory function, was damaged in soda-fed mice and this resulted in memory issues.

Based on their findings, the study authors said they believe the drink modifies an individual’s gut microbiome, and this in turn, alters the genes in the hippocampus damaging function.

Gut Microbiome Analysis

As indicated in the study entitled “Gut microbial taxa elevated by dietary sugar disrupt memory function” published in the Translational Psychiatry journal, mice were provided either with a diet of water, or water supplemented with an equivalent to fizzy pop available and sold in stores.

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Emily Noble from the University of Georgia, early life sugar consumption appears to selectively damage their hippocampal learning and memory.

The gut microbiome analysis in mice also revealed that consuming sweetened drinks had had a harmful effect. Furthermore, the sugary drinkers were found to have larger populations of two specific species of gut bacteria known as Parabacteroides distasonis and Parabacteroides johnsonii.

The injected bacteria were given to rats who had never consumed sugary drinks and as a result, they found that these mice also developed hippocampus-related memory conditions.

This, the study investigators believe, is evidence that cognitive impairment from sugary beverages is a result of the drink modifying the gut microbiome of an individual.

Sugary Drinks and Children’s Health

Aside from memory issues, there are other adverse effects sugary drinks can affect children. According to an article posted on Better Health, the Australian Dietary Guidelines are not recommending the consumption of sugary beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy and sports drinks, and vitamin-style waters, among others.

Fruit and vegetable juices have sugars naturally found in fresh vegetables and fruits, although they become very concentrated when they are made into juice.

Also according to the health article, children do not need any vegetable or fruit juice to achieve a balanced and healthy diet.

Encouraging these young ones to consume the whole vegetable or fruit, and drink plain water or milk, instead of juice, is the best way to achieve a good eating habit as early as possible.

Link Between Sugar Consumption and Memory Impairments

Co-author of the study, University of Southern California’s Dr. Scott Kanoski said that it was surprising to them that they were able to essentially duplicate the memory impairments linked to sugar consumption not by transferring the entire microbiome, but simply by enriching one microbial population in the gut.

The study authors then examined the genes in the rats’ brains and discovered that they were different if they had been given sugary drinks.

The said genes that were affected regulated the manner nerve cells were transmitting electrical signals to other nerve cells, as well as the manner they were sending molecular signals internally.

While this study was performed in rodents, the study investigators believe the results could apply to humans, as well.

A related report on the impact of sugar on a child’s brain function is shown on Intermountain Healthcare’s YouTube video below:

Originally published at Science Times