The negative effects of sugar on the brain

 For the brain, excess sugar can affect cognitive abilities and self-control.

The  brain is the organ of the human body that uses more energy and gets it through glucose . But when the brain is exposed to an excessive amount of sugars it can harm health.

For the brain, excess sugar can affect cognitive abilities and  self-control . Sugar for many people can result as an addiction, similar to those of drugs in the reward center of the brain. Scientists suggest that sweet foods, along with salty and fatty foods, can produce addiction-like effects on the human brain, leading to loss of self-control,  overeating,  and being overweight.

This stimulus helped early humans get high-calorie foods, which helped them survive when food was scarce. But today this primitive impulse contributes to the great global public health problem such as obesity and diabetes. The behavioral and neurobiochemical characteristics of substance abuse and overeating are quite similar, and the idea of ​​food addiction is gaining traction among scientists.

In humans, high-glycemic foods have been found to activate brain regions associated with the reward response and cause more intense feelings of hunger compared to low-glycemic foods. These foods that cause a greater rise in blood glucose produce a greater addictive drive in the brain.

The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition used the glycemic index (GI), a measure of how certain foods are converted to sugar in the body, to test this process and found that eating a high-GI food leads to increased activity brain in the regions involved in eating behavior, reward and craving. 

Sugar addiction

Other studies on brain activity have shown evidence to support the idea that overeating disrupts our brain’s reward system, leading to overeating.

 Is sugar really addictive?

A person who consumes sugar over time, needs more of the substance to achieve the same level of reward. Studies imply that overeating results in a decreased reward response and a progressive worsening of addiction to low-nutrient foods rich in sugar, salt, and fat.

A published PLoS One study showed that sweet foods can be more addictive than cocaine. This research was done on animals, experts found that intense sweetness can outweigh the payoff of cocaine, even in drug-sensitized and addicted individuals. 

How sugar affects memory

Some research shows that high sugar intake causes inflammation in the brain, leading to memory difficulties. A 2016 study published in Behavioral Brain Research found that inflammatory markers were present in the hippocampus of rats fed a high-sugar diet, but not in those fed a standard diet. 

A 2017 study in the journal Appetite found that memory damage caused by sugar consumption can be reversed by following a low-sugar, low-GI diet. 

Other research published in the journal Nutrients in 2015 found that reducing sugar intake and supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and curcumin improves working memory. 

Sugar intake hampers mental capacity

Among the damages that blood glucose can cause, it is found that it damages the blood vessels. Damage to the blood vessels is the leading cause of the vascular complications of diabetes, leading to other problems, such as damage to the blood vessels in the brain and eyes, causing retinopathy.

Long-term studies of diabetics show progressive brain damage leading to deficits in learning, memory, motor speed, and other cognitive functions. Frequent exposure to high glucose levels decreases mental capacity, as higher HbA1c levels have been associated with a greater degree of brain shrinkage.

It is important to reduce the consumption of sugar that is added to our food. We can avoid these dangers by satisfying our sweet tooth with fresh fruit instead of refined sugars.

Experts note that consuming a fresh fruit provides the satisfying sweetness of sugar-laden treats with the added bonus of fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in the fruit that reduce the rise in sugar in the bloodstream and block its negative effects.

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