We all know that too much of any kind of sugar can put us as risk for obesity and obesity related disease but did you know that it might make you stupid too? According to a study conducted at UCLA eating a diet with too much fructose may interfere with memory and learning.
“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.”
Sources of fructose in the Western diet include cane sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweetener. The syrup is widely added to processed foods, including soft drinks, condiments, applesauce and baby food. The average American consumes roughly 47 pounds of cane sugar and 35 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We’re less concerned about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which also contain important antioxidants,” explained Gomez-Pinilla, who is also a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center. “We’re more concerned about the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.”
None of us want to lose more memory as we age but sometime we just need a little something sweet. We’ve asked Sloan Hemmer to share her favorite sweet treats. Here are her top picks to be consumed in moderation of course!
My first pick is the Think Thin Bars. Most of them contain 0% sugar but do contain sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohol does affect blood glucose levels but not nearly as much as sugar. The drawback is that in some people too much can cause excess gas and bloating.
Cacao Nibs are great because they are full of antioxidants and taste fabulous in yogurts and smoothies!
Remember if you are going to consume a product with dark chocolate, it needs to have 70% or more cacao in it for you to get the benefits of the antioxidants. Dark chocolate is great because it is rich so you are much more likely to be satisfied after a smaller amount.