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Children given too much soda struggle with memory, learning, verbal skills

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Children scored lower on cognitive tests if they have diets high in sugar or their mothers consumed to much sweet stuff during pregnancy, a new study found.

A Harvard University study published this week found that children whose mothers ate large amounts of processed foods and drank sugary sodas during pregnancy scored lower on tests relating to learning, memory, problem-solving and verbal skills.

Similarly, children who had similar dietary habits, usually passed down from their parents, were found to be less intelligent.

On the flip side, when mothers and children ate diets that were high in fruit, which contains so-called healthy sugars, scores were significantly improved.

For decades health officials have warned of sugar’s link to health problems such as obesity and diabetes, but this study is one of the first to draw a link between the substance and early brain development.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar each day.

However, the average daily consumption for American adults is more than double that at 22 teaspoons, equivalent to around 350 calories.

American children consume more than triple the recommended amount at 32 teaspoons.

Health officials have been warning Americans to cut their sugar intake for the last three decades, but research shows that consumption habits haven’t changed much.

High-sugar diets have been linked to a host of health issues including obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

The study, published this week in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, suggests that the harmful effects of a high-sugar diet begin before a child is even born.


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