ADDiction. Many people have it, and it’s not limited to street drugs. Millions of Americans have a psychological and physical dependency on sugar ADDiction. There is a stressing of ADD, because most sugar — ahem sorry, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (fake sugar) — is added to our everyday products like bread, fruit juices, yogurt, granola bars and the list goes on.
If sugar is added to something it’s probably meant to create an addition. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s five grocery store shelves loaded with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar each.
If you find that hard to believe, that’s probably because sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we’re consuming. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts the amount at 27.5 teaspoons of sugar a day per capita, which translates to 440 calories—nearly one quarter of a typical 2000 calorie a day diet.
Most people know that consuming foods high in sugar, and simple carbohydrates that convert to sugar, leads to several health problems, such as obesity, tooth decay, diabetes and coronary artery disease. But eating too much sugar also has negative effects on your brain.
Throughout the body, excess sugar is harmful. Even a single instance of elevated glucose in the bloodstream can be harmful to the brain, resulting in slowed cognitive function and deficits in memory and attention. Sugar also affects mood.
Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles found that fructose – a type of sugar naturally found in fruits and vegetables, but also present in soft drinks and sweets – damages brain cells and can lead to a wide range of diseases, from diabetes and heart disease to Alzheimer’s and ADH.
Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks. Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc.
Here’s another interesting factoid: Researchers measuring body mass and waist-to-hip ratios found people with higher ratios of both had the lowest brain volume, according to a study published in Neurology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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