Eating a lot of sugar can cause the brain to overwork, cause cognitive deficits, or be addictive, increasing the risk of mental health diseases.
Glucose – a simple sugar found in most carbohydrate-rich foods – is the main source of energy for the brain, providing nutrients for the brain to grow, learn and develop. However, according to experts, this does not mean that consuming a lot of sugar is good for the brain. In fact, eating too much sugar can adversely affect this vital organ.
Lina Begdache, clinical nutritionist, Professor of Nutrition, Binghamton University, USA, said that consuming a lot of sugary foods can cause anxiety, depression, and sleep disruption.
She said the brain is made up of neurons and glial cells. These two cell types have different metabolic needs, but glucose is the main source of energy. Eating too much glucose or sugar can cause the brain to be overactive. Some evidence suggests that brain overactivity after eating sugar in adolescents can cause cognitive deficits in adulthood.
In a study conducted by the Laboratory of Neuroscience and Obesity, Translational Research Institute, Queensland University of Technology, scientists divided laboratory mice into two groups, given sugar or purified water. The results showed that the mice that drank sugar showed hyperactivity, increased arousal. High sugar levels deplete hippocampal cells, affecting neurogenesis.
Sugar also has an addictive effect, as it stimulates neurons in the brain’s reward system, also known as the limbic system. When activated, the limbic system produces heightened emotions, similar to pleasure. This causes people to consume more sugar.
Research published in Science Direct in 2007 found that intermittent sugar intake caused many people to exhibit behaviors similar to those observed in drug-dependent lab rats.
In fact, the concept of “sugar addiction” has also been mentioned by scientists for many years. Clinical reports of sugar addiction have been around since 1996. Scientists describe test participants as having a “withdrawal response” when deprived of sugar-rich foods from their daily diets. day. They also display cravings, especially for sweets or carbohydrates. This can lead to impulsive, uncontrolled eating.
In addition, in the limbic system there is a small structure called the amygdala, which processes emotional information. Overactive amygdala when eating sugar can magnify feelings of fear and anxiety.
A 2019 study in the journal Science Direct showed a strong relationship between sweet eating habits and behavioral changes, poor emotional regulation. Scientists say consuming sugar may improve mood momentarily, but increase the risk of long-term mental health illnesses.