How Sugar Affects Your Brain
It’s no secret that sugar is bad for you, but the effects it has on your brain just might make your head spin.
YOUR BRAIN ON SUGAR
Have you ever watched a video of a baby trying sugar for the first time? Their eyes light up, their feet do a little dance, and they instantly reach for more… Well, in a less cute way (sorry) that same thing still happens to you.
Sugar activates your brain’s reward system by releasing dopamine. When the reward system (or mesolimbic dopamine system) is triggered it gives you a sense of pleasure, making it easier to do it again, and again, and again. But what happens to your brain when you’re regularly consuming sugar?
EXCESS SUGAR CAN AFFECT YOUR MEMORY
According to multiple studies, excessive sugar consumption can lead to impaired memory and an increased risk of dementia. But just how does sugar affect memory specifically? An animal study found that sugar damages the hippocampus – a region of the brain responsible for memory. Researchers found that lab rats given sugar solution had poorer long-term spatial memory than those who were given a water solution.
Luckily, there’s good news! According to a recent study, memory damage caused by excess sugar can be reversed by a low-sugar diet.
EXCESS SUGAR CAN MAKE YOU SAD
In need of a mood boost? Research shows you may want to lay off the sugar. According to multiple studies, excess sugar directly affects your emotions and may make feelings of sadness and hopelessness worse. In fact, a recent study found that men who regularly consume high amounts of sugar are 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
EXCESS SUGAR CAN DELAY LEARNING
While you may no longer be worried about passing tests, it’s always good to keep a sharp mind. Unfortunately, excess sugar consumption has been shown to diminish mental capabilities, and make it more difficult to learn new things.
Research shows that diets high in added sugar reduce the production of BDNF – a brain chemical essential for learning and memory. Additionally, excess sugar has been linked to lower test scores in both children and adults.
HOW TO KEEP A HIGHKEY HEALTHY MIND
The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. And as the research shows, all that extra sugar has some not-so-sweet side effects. Luckily, reducing your added sugar intake is an easy way to preserve your mental health and keep your brain in tip-top shape.
But we know eating less sugar is easier said than done, that’s why we make delicious versions of your favorite snacks without all the added sugar. Whether you crave the rich, chocolaty taste of Chocolate Chip Cookies, or the satisfying crunch of crispy marshmallow treats – you’ll never find more than 2 tiny grams of naturally-occurring sugar in every serving of our snacks. Click here to shop HighKey snacks!