At this point, the message about eating too much processed sugar is clear: That stuff screws up your body in serious ways. But a new study suggests that too much sugar could do more than that. It could mess up your brain, as well.

Technically, what this study found is that too much sugar can screw up rats’ brains. The study let rats OD on high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and found that it disrupted their ability to learn, think, and remember. Here’s what Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, the UCLA neurosurgery professor who led the study, had to say about it:

“Insulin is important in the body for controlling blood sugar, but it may play a different role in the brain, where insulin appears to disturb memory and learning,” he said. “Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new.”

Happily, the study also found that supplemental doses of omega-3 fatty acids can mitigate the negative effects of a long-term sugar binge. So if you’re unwilling or unable to stay away from HFCS, you should try to eat a lot of flaxseeds — or just opt for a less mentally challenging job, like governor of Texas.

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