How SUGAR Literally Destroys Your Health and Makes You STUPID By Jeffrey Roberts
UGAR, PRIMARILY in the form
of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is the largest source of calories in the United States today. While its mass appeal is vastly rooted in cultures worldwide, its health impacts are severe and often overlooked by the majority. In his book The Sugar Fix, Dr. Richard Johnson reveals that about 50% of Americans consume as much as half a pound, more than 225 grams, of sugar per day. This statistic is the furthest thing from sweet. While it’s no secret that sugar is a major player in the obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes epidemics, most would be shocked to discover that sugar literally makes you dumber as well.
From Our Gut to Our Brain In his article “Eating Sugar Makes You Stupid,” Dr. Mercola discusses a number of studies pointing to the degenerative effects of sugar on the brain. One of these studies, published in the journal Neuroscience, showed how a high-sugar diet led to changes in gut bacteria in mice that in turn caused a significant loss of cognitive flexibility,
which is a measure of your brain’s ability to adapt to changing situations. “After four weeks of consuming excess amounts of sugar, the mice performed poorly on a variety of tests related to mental and physical function when compared to mice fed a normal diet,” Mercola wrote. Kathy Magnusson, a professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute, said in an Oregon State University news release: It’s increasingly clear that our gut bacteria, or microbiota, can communicate with the human brain… Bacteria can release compounds that act as neurotransmitters, stimulate sensory nerves or the immune system, and affect a wide range of biological functions… We’re not sure just what messages are being sent, but we are tracking down the pathways and the effects. The findings from the study only further substantiate the growing list of evidence showing the cognitive defects of sugar consumption.
store and use sugar for the energy needed to fuel thoughts and emotions.”
What Happened When Rats Were Fed Omega-3 Fats With Sugar
Insulin Resistance and the Brain In 2012, a team of researchers examined the effects of HFCS on rats’ brains, soon to discover that rats who had been fed a diet high in HFCS faced cognitive impairment and struggled to remember their way out of mazes. “Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier,” Mercola wrote. Furthermore, the fructose-fed rats showed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls your blood sugar and synaptic function in the brain. Because insulin is able to pass through the blood-brain barrier, it can trigger neurological processes important for learning and memory. “Consuming large amounts of fructose may block insulin’s ability to regulate how your brain cells
In the same study, a second group of rats was given Omega-3 fats in the form of flaxseed oil and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in addition to the high-fructose diet. After six weeks, this group of rats was able to navigate the maze better and faster than the rats in the non-DHA group. The researchers concluded that DHA is protective against fructose’s harmful effects on your brain. DHA is essential for synaptic function — it helps your brain cells transmit signals to one another, which is the mechanism that makes learning and memory possible. Unfortunately, your body can’t produce all the DHA it needs, so it must be incorporated into your diet through wild-caught seafood or a supplement like krill oil. Many Americans are seriously deficient in Omega-3 fats, which means they may be especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of excess fructose.
Elevated Blood Sugar Levels Can Be Linked to Memory Loss Mercola also stresses that even if you don’t have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes suggestive of insulin resistance,
Please see SUGAR, page 26
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