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It's Official: Sugar Is A Harmful Drug For The Brain

It's Official: Sugar Is A Harmful Drug For The Brain

Dextrose, fructose, lactose, maltose and glucose are all names of sugar. Indeed, there are more than 50 different names to define sugar. But is sugar really bad for your health? In fact, there are essentially two types of sugar, a "good" sugar naturally present in fruits and vegetables and a "bad" sugar added to soften food. More details in this article!

"Good" sugar is necessary for the body, especially for the brain. After meals, glycogen, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and triglycerides are broken down into glucose. Glucose is so crucial to cell function that deprivation can lead to loss of consciousness and even cell death. On the other hand, the harmful aspect of sugar is materialized by the excessive quantity ingested by the individuals.

Did you know that the brain uses about 20% of an individual's daily energy intake?

Glucose is essential for the functioning and survival of cells and stimulates the reward pathway in the brain, which gives the impression that life is beautiful. Except that excess is always harmful!

But how many grams of sugar should you ingest per day?
The American Heart Association suggests that individuals must ingest a maximum daily intake of 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men. But studies have revealed that an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar are ingested per day, in addition to the sugar naturally present in our diet.

Thus, as our reward circuit continues to be stimulated, the dopamine receptors become numb and require more dopamine to achieve the same pleasurable feeling.

Therefore, it is necessary to consume the drink or the sweet food, to obtain the same answer. This increase in consumption has been shown to lead to obesity, especially among children. A diet that is higher in saturated fat and sugar (also called high calorie diet) can lead to fundamental changes in the brain that can be associated with an increase in the release of neurotransmitters (dopamine), which can have deleterious effects. These effects include:

Learning and memory
Studies show that a diet rich in sugar and saturated fats can promote oxidative stress, leading to cell damage. In 2010, Scott Kanoski, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University, demonstrated that a three-day diet, containing more sugar and saturated fats, altered the function of the hippocampus (learning and memory), preventing rats from finding food in a labyrinth.

Research has shown that sugar addiction is real. The activated way for dependence is the same as the reward way. The persistent increase in neurotransmitter release, dopamine, leads to desensitization and requires increased consumption for reward.

Depression and anxiety
Trying to break the cycle of addiction can lead to mood swings and irritability. Eliminating any added sugar from your diet can result in some of the same withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of sugar withdrawal include headaches, anxiety, cravings and even chills.

Cognitive deficits
Sugar-rich prolonged diets can lead to changes in gene expression. It affects everything from neurotransmitters to receptors and the fundamental function of the cell. Studies suggest that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is affected. Active in the hippocampus, cortex and forebrain, it is essential for learning and memory, while supporting existing neurons and promoting the formation of new synapses (ie new areas contact and transmission between two nerve cells). This is reduced in high sugar diets.

Recent and ongoing research in the field of neuroscience continues to provide valuable insights into the effects of excess sugar on the brain. Additional information obtained through such research may also result in changes in the way specific cognitive disorders are treated.
Sugar Is A Harmful Drug For The Brain