Parents are often stressed about their children’s sugar levels, but it can be difficult to know how much is too much – or what to do about it.
Glucose – a simple sugar that forms the basis of most carbohydrate-rich foods – is the main source of energy for the brain. A healthy brain requires a constant source of energy and nutrients to promote growth, learning and development.
However, that doesn’t mean consuming extra sugar is good for the developing brain. In fact, too much sugar can actually be detrimental to normal brain development.
I am a clinical nutritionist and a nutrition scientist with a focus on neuroscience Who research revolves around understand the impact of diet and lifestyle on brain function and mental health. Preliminary results from my research indicate that the consumption of sugary foods is associated with mental distress – such as anxiety and depression – and disrupted sleep.
Processed foods, such as donuts, soft drinks, and sweetened cereals, often contain added sugar. Unfortunately, these foods tend to be easily accessible to kids and teens — whether it’s after sports games or at a birthday party.
Chemically processed foods are foods that have been altered by adding ingredients that are not naturally present in them. These foods often contain added sugars, preservatives, salt, and trans fats — all for the purpose of enhancing flavor, texture, or shelf life.
As a result, processed foods have less nutritional value than whole grains, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. One of the most common sweeteners in U.S. food products is high-fructose corn syrup, which contains not only glucose but another simple sugar called fructose. Too much fructose has been linked to increased body fat. High-fructose corn syrup is found in soft drinks and baked goods like muffins and doughnuts.
Certain dietary components such as amino acids, which form the basis of protein, act as precursors for brain chemicals. Amino acids also play an important role in mood, learning and cognitive function.
Just as a car engine needs proper fuel to run efficiently, the brain also requires an adequate diet to function optimally. The brain is made up of nerve cells, or neurons, and management cells, called glial cells. Although these two types of brain cells have different metabolic needs, glucose is the main source of energy for both.
Despite the fact that the brain makes up only 2% of the human body weight, it requires about 20% of the energy the human body needs to carry out all its functions, including processes. learning, memory and perception. Research shows that this number is even higher in children whose brains and bodies are growing rapidly.
Brain function and growth are regulated by brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which determine how the brain develops. Depending on the stage of brain development, an imbalance of important neurotransmitters can cause a multitude of diseases, affecting learning, mood, and behavior.
Similarly, a low-quality or unbalanced diet, such as a diet high in processed sugars, can upset the brain’s chemical balance.
Since glucose is the main source of energy for the brain, too much sugar can overwork the brain. When the brain is overstimulated, it can lead to hyperactivity and mood swings. However, these behavioral changes are only short-term consequences. Some evidence suggests that this increased brain activity in adolescents is associated with cognitive decline in adulthood.
Sugar also has an addictive effect because it stimulates neurons in the brain’s reward system, known as the limbic system. When activated, the limbic system produces high emotions such as pleasure, which enhances sugar consumption.
In addition, in the limbic system there is a small structure called the amygdala, which processes emotional information. Overactivity of the amygdala is associated with excessive emotions such as fear and anxiety.
Research shows that there is a strong relationship between high sugar consumption, altered behaviors and poor emotional regulation. While sugar intake can temporarily improve mood, chronic sugar consumption is associated with an increased risk of mental health problems.
Studies in laboratory animals also show that high sugar consumption interferes with learning and memory. Interestingly, daily consumption of sugary beverages during adolescence is associated with impaired performance in learning and memory tasks during adulthood. The researchers of that study suggested that this decline could be due to changes in gut bacteria.
Considering the evidence, the seemingly irresistible sweetness of sugar can lead to a bitter end for the developing brain.
Lina Begdache is an assistant professor of nutrition at Binghamton College, State University of New York
https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-too-much-sugar-can-mess-with-your-kids-brain?source=articles&via=rss Too much sugar can cause brain disorders in children