Sugar is the world’s most popular sweetener; it can be found on tabletops and in processed foods including pasta sauce, veggie burgers, and soda. Aside from making things sweet, high sugar consumption is linked to physical conditions including obesity and diabetes; the sweet stuff also can cause neurological and mental health problems.
In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death. Estimates suggest that, by the end of 2014, 5.2 million Americans will have the disease. Sugar may be the fuel flaming the upcoming Alzheimer’s crisis.
The relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and high blood sugar is real and is spurred by insulin resistance. Diabetes is a disease caused by the body’s inability to maintain a stable sugar level in the blood. High blood sugar is one symptom of type 2 diabetes (T2D), a disease spurred by inactivity and diets brimming with bad carbohydrates and sugar. The T2D and Alzheimer’s connection is caused by insulin signaling malfunctioning and leading to impaired thinking. That can lead to permanent neurological damage, the kind present in Alzheimer’s patients.
While Alzheimer’s typically takes effect after age 65, sugar is causing the younger set mental health issues now. With over 40 million American adults suffering from anxiety, it is the country’s most common mental health issue. Excess sugar consumption may exasperate symptoms and make it challenging to cope with stress.
Anxiety sufferers can experience symptoms such as shaking, headaches, digestive issues and high energy. In two separate studies, scientists watched how rats reacted to a sugar binge. In 2008, sugar fed rats displayed anxiety symptoms. The following year, rats were fed sucrose were compared to critters who were fed honey; the sugar-high rodents were more likely to have anxiety than the honeyeaters.
Depression is another mental disorder impacting the nation; one out of every 10 Americans have dealt with a general sense of malaise during their lifetime. The sweet stuff can trigger a reaction.
Sugar highs happen, ask anyone who has started the day with a baker’s dozen of one treat or another. After digestion all nutrients, including glucose, are dispersed throughout the body including the brain. The brain needs even levels of glucose to do its’ job, and uneven sugar levels have been linked to depression.
While the simple sugars in foods like apples, beets and honey are easily digested, nutritious, and provide a natural energy burst, the sugars in processed foods do not promote the same benefits. Refined foods such as white rice, white flour, and sugar are simple carbs that can contribute to health issues such as blurred vision, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, night-sweats, memory loss, chronic inflammation, thirst and mood swings. Make sure to choose your next snack wisely!