Sugar is Making You Stupid

Sugar is Making You Stupid

Posted by Lori Shemek; November 17, 2012

Carrying around that fat baggage is not only challenging…it is making your brain shrink and you can thank sugar for that. That’s right.

An example of how prevalent sugar is: the average American consumes 156 lbs. of sugar a year. When we ingest sugar, we are not only creating inflammation and weight gain, but we are also single-handedly shrinking our brain. Oh, and by the way, why not throw in a poor mood.

Our thinking skills are directly tied to the hippocampus – that area in the brain that governs our memory and our critical thinking skills. Within the hippocampus is the Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor gene (a mouthful, I know, but hang in there) or BDNF that produces the BDNF Protein. This protein is critical for our thinking skills, our insulin response, our seratonin output and our weight. The more BDNF output we have – the smarter we are. With chronic use of sugar – we are depleting the output of BDNF – leading to brain shrinkage, weight gain and more.

The good news is that brain shrinkage can be mitigated or reversed with the addition of omega-3 fatty acids and exercise. In fact, exercise will increase the BDNF Protein output! Omega 3 fatty acids are protective and healing against damage to the synapses – the chemical connections between brain cells that are critical for memory and learning.

In a recent UCLA study (May 2012), researchers had rats learn to navigate a maze and then these rats were either given omega-3 fatty acids or a fructose (sugar) solution in place of their water. After 6 weeks on the new ‘diet’ the rats once again went back in the maze and the rats that had the added omega 3 fats fared the best in their recall and the worst? The rats who ingested the fructose solution – their brains showed a decline in their ability to think and remember, and they showed insulin resistance.

This is a great reminder as to the importance of paying attention to what we put in our bodies. How all systems in the body are interrelated.

The bottom line is this: If you want to remember where you put the keys, you want a more positive outlook and you want a leaner body, consider waving  goodbye to sugar.