How can sugar affect your brain?

Eating sugar impairs mental ability Studies of diabetics show gradual, long-term brain damage that leads to deficits in learning, memory, movement speed, and other cognitive functions, which is known as (brain shrinkage).

How can sugar affect your brain?

In the brain, excess sugar impairs both cognitive skills and self-control. For many people, eating too little sugar stimulates the desire to eat more. Sugar has drug-like effects on the brain's reward center. Scientists have suggested that sweet foods can induce addictive-like effects in the brain. leading to loss of self-control, overeating, and subsequent weight gain.

The brain's response to sugar

High-glycemic foods have been found to activate areas of the brain associated with the reward response, feelings of satisfaction, and happiness, and trigger more intense feelings of hunger compared to low-glycemic foods. Foods that cause a higher spike in blood glucose produce a greater addictive drive in the brain.

The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used the glycemic index, a measure of how certain foods turn into sugar in the body, to test this process and found that eating a high-glycemic index meal led to increased brain activity in areas involved in eating behavior, feeling satisfied, and improving psychological well-being.

Sugar addiction

Additional studies of brain activity provided evidence supporting the idea that overeating alters the brain's reward system leading to increased overeating. This same process is believed to underlie addiction-related tolerance.

A study found that sweet foods can be more addictive than cocaine, although the research was conducted on animals and researchers found that intense sweetness can override cocaine reward even in drug-addicted individuals.

How does sugar affect memory?

Excess sugar is harmful throughout the body. Even a single instance of high glucose in the bloodstream can be harmful to the brain, resulting in slowed cognitive function and deficits in memory and attention.

Some research suggests that high sugar consumption causes inflammation in the brain, leading to memory difficulties. A study found that signs of inflammation were present in the hippocampus of mice fed a high-sugar diet but not in those fed a standard diet.

In addition, research published in the journal Nutrients in 2015 found that reducing sugar consumption and supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and curcumin improved general memory.

Eating sugar hinders the mental ability

High blood glucose damages blood vessels. Damage to blood vessels is the main cause of vascular complications of diabetes, which leads to other problems, such as damage to blood vessels in the brain and eyes causing retinopathy.

Long-term studies of diabetics show progressive brain damage that leads to deficits in learning, memory, motor speed, and other cognitive functions. Repeated exposure to high levels of glucose reduces mental ability.

In people without diabetes, higher sugar consumption is associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function. These effects are thought to result from a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol.

Additional research shows that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a chemical in the brain necessary for new memory formation and learning. Low levels of BDNF are also linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

It increases the risk of certain diseases

We know that excessive consumption of sugar is reflected in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fatty liver, cancer, and more. However, recent findings have shown that it can have negative effects on the brain, triggering inflammation or emotional reactions, such as:

  • Infant hyperactivity.
  • exhaustion.
  • insomnia.
  • anxiety.
  • mental illness.
  • depression.

Sugar consumption negatively affects the brain

As science shows, there is a strong correlation between habitual sugar intake and the risk of mental illness later on. This is because this substance can cause a neuroprotective effect in the brain. Therefore, eliminate or reduce table sugar, ultra-processed foods, breakfast cereals, sauces, and sugary drinks.

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