A new study has determined that poorer childhood cognition occurred, particularly in memory and learning, when pregnant women or their offspring consumed greater quantities of sugar. Substituting diet soda for sugar-sweetened versions during pregnancy also appeared to have negative effects. However, children’s fruit consumption had beneficial effects and was associated with higher cognitive scores.
Researchers report that in mice, fructose, a sugar found in fruit, is processed mainly in the small intestine, not in the liver as had previously been suspected. Sugary drinks and processed high-sugar foods overwhelm the small intestine and spill into the liver for processing. Additionally, the authors learned that the ability of the small intestine to process fructose is higher after a meal.