It has a bad reputation, but sugaris essential for the proper functioning of thebodysince it is an excellent source of energy. When sugar is consumed, the taste receptors on the tongue send signals to the brain to activate our reward system and release pleasant hormones, such as dopamine. This is why you can quickly become addicted to sugar, or more precisely to glucose, a simple sugar.
While it is not dangerous when consumed in moderation, sugaris consumed in too large quantities, since it is present in drinks, processed foods, sauces and white bread. The World Health Organization recommends not to exceed 5% of daily calorie intake. Beyond that, sugar has many harmful effects on the brain.
Sugar, bad for the memory
Over-consumption of sugar affects the hippocampus, which plays a central role in the memory process. An American studyshowed that rats with a high sugar dietwere less able to remember if they had seen objects in specific places before. A newborn's hippocampus is also impacted by high sugar consumption because it reduces its neurons, which are essential for engraving its memories.
Cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease
A sugar-rich diet develops insulin resistance in cells. This hormone regulates blood glucose levels and plays an important role in regulating glycaemia. Thus, over-consumption of sugar leads to a deterioration in cognitive functions linked to the decrease in insulin production.
According to research conducted in 2013, insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels caused by excessive sugar consumption increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.