They cause cavities. They contribute to weight gain, and even increase the risk of diabetes.
Now a new study by Brazilian and Polish researchers suggests a potential new addition to the list of negative consequences of cola consumption, potentially causing damage to our brain. In short, this type of soda may be making us dumber.
On a restaurant patio, served with ice cubes and a slice of lemon. Or alongside a stack of buns, burgers and crispy onions. Colas are consumed on many occasions and associated with many types of celebrations. And yet, for many years now, scientists have been warning us about the harmful effects of consuming this beverage on our physical health. Kidney failure, cavities, diabetes, obesity… The list is long. But colas are not only bad for our figures… they could also be bad for our cognitive fitness!
Brazilian researchers from various universities in Santa Catarina, who worked with the Institute of Educational Science in Poland, have published the results of a surprising study in the journal Experimental Gerontology. Cola consumption appears to have real consequences on the frontal cortex, disrupting not only memory but also attention and judgment capabilities. Furthermore, in addition to these cognitive problems, there are also issues with the hippocampus, an area of the brain that facilitates memories and our ability to learn!
These findings were made after researchers examined the brains of groups of rats that consumed these sweet drinks. For the research, three groups of animals were formed, according to their age. And in each group, the scientists separated the rats to decide to give only water to some and a mixture of water and cola to others. The cognitive functions of the guinea pigs were tested using a maze to observe the animals’ behaviour.
Among the most alarming findings, the youngest rats, aged two and eight months, who drank cola, were found to have poorer memory function than their counterparts who drank only water.
Finally, apart from the memory issues, the researchers noted oxidative stress in the cola drinkers. This is a health problem that appears when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. An overabundant presence of the free radicals increases this type of stress. This phenomenon has already been noted with tobacco consumption, overexposure to the sun or exposure to pollution.