Is Your Diet Making You Dumb?
Research published in the Journal of Physiology(http://jp.physoc.org/content/590/10/2485) suggests that a diet consistently high in fructose slows the brain and hinders memory and learning.
Two primary sources of fructose in the Western diet include cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweeter added to processed foods, soft drinks and condiments as a sweetener and preservative.
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes roughly 47 pounds of cane sugar and 35 pounds of high fructose corn syrup per year.
While fruit is also a source of fructose, the fructose is naturally occurring and fruit provides a number of phytonutrients that are good sources of antioxidants.
In the study, rats that were fed a diet high in fructose showed a decline in synaptic activity in the brain (i.e. the brain cells had trouble signaling each other, thereby disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they had learned 6 weeks earlier).
The research also revealed that those rats fed a diet that included the omega 3 fatty acid DHA, commonly found in fish, were able to remember the route faster than the rats fed fructose alone.
DHA is essential for synaptic function in the brain, which affects memory and learning.
Because our bodies can’t produce enough DHA, we must supplement it through our diet.
Insulin plays an important role in the body by regulating blood sugar. The consumption of high amounts of sugar can block insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required in processing thoughts and emotions. In the brain, it appears to disturb memory and learning.
Researchers found that mice given a sugary solution as part of their daily diets showed increased signs of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Both obesity and diabetes have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Now it appears that high sugar consumption in an otherwise normal diet could affect Alzheimer’s progression.
Currently there are 12 million people in the U.S. and E.U. suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, with a predicted estimate that this figure will triple by 2050. The annual costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. are over $100 billion.
Food for Thought
We spend billions of dollars on managing the comorbidities of obesity and poor diets (cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, asthma and allergies, etc.).
There are also billions of dollars spent annually on research to develop new drugs to manage the symptoms associated with these diseases.
There is a clear link to diet and chronic degenerative disease, especially refined carbohydrates and sugar.
Take a look around you when you are at a restaurant. What are people eating?
When you go to Starbucks is the person next to you is ordering a Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino?(are you ordering one)
What is your diet like?
What do you feed your kids for breakfast and lunch? Are they having difficulty focusing in school?
Are your eating habits setting you up for one or all of the aforementioned diseases and if so, What are you going to do about it?