According to a recent study, there is a high risk for adolescent rats to suffer serious adverse health effects. How so? As a result of their consumption of beverages that are sweetened with sugar.
According to the study, an adolescent rat that consumed a large portion of beverages and liquid solutions had high concentrations of High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or sugar compared to popular beverages that had sugar sweeteners. These rats suffered from brain inflammation and other memory problems, and also became pre-diabetic. This same issue was not found with adult rats that took the same sugary drinks. It was also not found with other adolescent rats that didn’t take the drink.
Study on gut health
According to the author of the research, Scott Kanoski, a contributor at paper writing service and assistant professor at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, there are critical times during the development of the animal where the brain is very vulnerable to influences from diets and one of such stages is the adolescence stage.
Kanoski collaborated with other researchers at USC. They included Ted Hsu, Michael Goran, Ryan Usui, Lilly Taing, Brandon Kayser, and Vaibhav Konanur. The number of rats that they tested in total during this study was 76.
Their study finds that up to 35% – 40% of the rats’ calorie intake came from the HFCS or sugar. Of the total calorie intake for teenagers in the US, about 17% comes from added sugar, according to CDC.
Why is this gut study important?
In testing these rats, they were put inside a maze to probe how good their spatial memory ability is. Adolescent rats with higher consumption of sugary beverages and HFCS, in particular, had the worst performance during the test than other groups of rats. This may be a resultant effect of neuroinflammation, which is detected in the hippocampus of the rat, according to Kanoski.
Also, the hippocampus is one of the crucial parts of the temporal lobe that’s found deep inside the brain. It is known to control the formation of memory makes it even more understandable. This is common with people suffering from some forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease most of the time. They also suffer damage to their brain’s hippocampus.
What do the researchers think?
According to authors from this research, it is very evident that the consumption of added sugars as part of our diet can lead to metabolic disturbances and weight gain and can have a severe negative impact on our cognitive ability and neural functioning.
The role of your gut
The gut microbiome has 100 trillion microorganisms, and its colonization starts from birth into early childhood. During early life, the gut microbial population plays a vital role in the immune response and nervous system development. Therefore, it affects motor control and anxiety behaviors into adulthood.
Recent research findings also discovered the gut microbiome’s role in developing gastrointestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also been linked to neurological disorders like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Gut health can also be linked to metabolic pathologies like obesity and insulin resistance.
Evidence links the gut microbiome with diseases and human health. It is suggested that nurturing a healthy patient’s development is an essential cornerstone of medicine. So, disease prevention and human health must understand how environmental factors can be modified to affect the gut microbiome. This is especially important during the early stages of development that have accelerated the gut microorganism’s rapid colonization.
How does diet affect your gut?
There are dietary factors capable of affecting the gut microbiome, as revealed by some studies into experimental rodents. Notably, a high-fat diet (HFD), which typically has 45-60% fat, and the primary source of carbohydrate is sucrose is revealed in rodent studies regarding bacteria population changes.
For instance, HFD is known to reduce the population of phylum Bacteroidetes while also increasing proteobacteria and firmicutes in relation to diet control that has 10-15% kilocalories from fat that have complex carbohydrates as the primary source of carbohydrate.
Bacteroidetes help in the promotion of T cell-mediated immune responses within a host and also prevent harmful pathogens from overgrowing. But Firmicutes and Proteobacteria are generally associated with obesity and dysbiosis. But the HFD rodent model showed metabolic syndrome and obesity, so it isn’t clear yet if HFD-mediated gut microbiome alterations are directly based on dietary factors or if they are secondary to an increase in adiposity and are associated with metabolic derangement.
The verdict on gut health
There is not enough research to show the effect of added sugars without high dietary fat.
Over the last century, humans have increased in added sugar consumption, especially sugar-sweetened beverages. This has been associated with an increase in the risk of metabolic disease, weight gain, and cardiovascular diseases.