“The part of the brain that mediates ‘I can’t stop’ behaviour appears to be especially sensitive to sugars and largely insensitive to artificial sweeteners,” says de Araujo. “Our long-term goal is really to understand whether sugars or caloric sweeteners drive constant food intake. If you are exposed to excess sugar, does the brain eventually change in ways that lead to excess consumption? what we would like to know. “
Some research suggests that the intensely sweet taste of low-calorie artificial sweeteners can lead to a “sweet tooth” or a preference for sweet things. This, in turn, could lead to overeating. However, more studies are needed to confirm the relative effects of caloric versus non-caloric sweeteners.
“In the long term, if you want to lose weight, you need to establish a healthy lifestyle that contains raw foods, moderate calories, and more exercise,” says Rother.
As children grow up eating many sweet foods, they tend to develop a preference for sweets. However, if they are given a variety of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables early in life, they will develop a taste for them.
“It’s important for parents to expose children to a variety of tastes early on, but realize that getting a child to eat these types of foods often takes several tries,” says Bremer. “Don’t give up early.”
These products include sliced bread and industrial sauces to others that are supposedly “healthy,” such as light yogurts, diet bars and industrial fruit juices. And of course soft drinks too: a single can of Coca-Cola doubles the recommended daily consumption of sugar.
When the diet includes sugar in large amounts, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity (particularly in children), hypertension, diabetes, oral problems and even cancer. These are its best known possible adverse effects.
However, several more should be known to be more explicit about how harmful the abuse of this element can be. potential negative consequences are listed below.
Various studies in recent years have found a relationship between excessive sugar consumption and memory problems. As early as 2012, a study by scientists from the University of California Los Angeles concluded that “a long-term high-fructose diet alters the brain’s ability to learn and remember information.”
A year later, another study reached similar results. In this case, the researchers specified that high sugar intake is associated with damage to the brain region of the hippocampus.
Meanwhile, at the end of last month, new research – also carried out in the United States – corroborated these effects on memory, especially in adults who ate a lot of sweets during their childhood. In this case, the hypothesis is related to the changes that excess sugar generates on the intestinal microbiome.
Specifically, the presence of two types of intestinal bacteria – favoured by the consumption of sugar – would end up causing alterations in the hippocampus. Although the mechanism by which sugar would cause the deterioration of the hippocampus is not yet precise, the relationship between both facts, from all these studies, seems evident.
The connection between excess sugar and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s is explained by diabetes. This disease increases the chances of suffering a cognitive deterioration, leading to some dementia. And the most common of these dementias are Alzheimer’s, which accounts for 60% -70% of cases.
And although the possible connections between diabetes and Alzheimer’s “are not yet fully understood,” according to a document from the Mayo Clinic in the United States, there are specialists who have reached the point of proposing that Alzheimer’s be considered a new form of diabetes: type 3 diabetes mellitus.
According to this vision, Alzheimer’s would be a third type of diabetes, beyond the two known so far. In any case, what does seem clear is that excessive sugar consumption throughout life is a risk factor for this disease.
Anxiety, depression and other mental problems
It is often believed that the negative consequences of an unbalanced diet are exclusively physical or physiological. However, problems related to mental health can also appear when the brain is affected – as was apparent in the previous points.
“People with mood disorders tend to have poor quality diets, low in fruits and vegetables but the evaded in fats and sugars, “notes a study on diet-related anxiety published by UK scientists in 2013.
Other researchers from the same country wondered if there could not be “reverse causality,” if it could not be that it was the state of mind that influenced the diet and not the other way around. The answer they came up with was no: neither depression nor common mental disorders predicted changes in eating.
In contrast, the same study (published in 2017) revealed that men in the highest third of intake of sweet foods or sugary drinks were – after five years – 23% more likely to suffer from a mental disorder.
Sugar is not suitable for health, and it is better to eliminate it from the diet.
Does sugar have health benefits?
Consumers receive the message that all sugars must be eliminated from the daily diet, but it is necessary to distinguish between the sugar naturally present in food and the added sugar. This is not always easy since, in many products, it does not appear on the labelling.
“It is considered scientifically proven that the simple sugars found in these foods (such as fruits or vegetables) do not have adverse health effects and that there is no reason to stop consuming them, quite the contrary,” emphasizes the OCU.
In fact, in the WHO sugar intake guideline for 2015 (expected to be updated this year), the agency differentiates free sugars from those found in fruits and vegetables for its recommendations. Intrinsic. Thus, it advises reducing the consumption of “free sugars” that include “monosaccharides and disaccharides added to food by manufacturers, cooks or consumers, as well as the sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, juices. fruit and fruit juice concentrates. “