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The emerging role of dietary fructose in obesity and cognitive decline

Shaheen E Lakhan12* and Annette Kirchgessner13

Author Affiliations

1 Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2 Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Ave, S100A, 44195, Cleveland, OH, USA

3 School of Health and Medical Sciences, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, USA

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:114  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-114

Published: 8 August 2013


The incidence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past several years, and in parallel, so has the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Numerous studies have demonstrated that both obesity and T2D are associated with lower cognitive performance, cognitive decline, and dementia. Intake of dietary fructose has also increased. In fact, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) accounts for as much as 40% of caloric sweeteners used in the United States. Given the increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), characterized by an age-related decline in memory and cognitive functioning, in this report we review the effects of obesity on cognitive performance and the impact of high fructose intake in promoting cognitive decline. The paper then considers the effects of omega-3 fatty acids (FAs), which have been linked to promising results in cognitive function including ameliorating the impact of a high-fructose diet.

Obesity; Nutrition; Cognition; Fructose; Diabetes; Dementia; Omega-3 fatty acids