Consumption of a diet high in fructose throughout adolescence can worsen depressive- and anxiety-like behavior, a new study has revealed.
Lead author Constance Harrell of Emory University in Atlanta said that their results offer new insights into the ways in which diet can alter brain health and may lead to important implications for adolescent nutrition and development.
Fructose, a sugar found naturally in fruits and vegetables but also added to many processed foods and beverages, can promote negative cardiovascular effects. It also stimulates neural pathways that affect how the brain responds to stress, which can have important behavioral effects, including the worsening of symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Such effects are of particular concern during the teen years, which is a critical time for the development of the brain's stress response.
The study will be presented at Neuroscience 2014, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.