How tons of sugar may affect memory

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

memory kid
I might lose WHAT if I eat too much sugar?

We’ve all heard someone say, “too much sugar is bad for you,” and… well, it pretty much is! Having too much in your blood can lead to diabetes – a condition where the body loses control of sugar levels – and have serious negative effects on the body. According to a new study, a person doesn’t even need to have diabetes to suffer the consequences, because high blood sugar is enough to cause memory problems!

In order to conduct the study, researchers scanned and provided memory tests on the brains of 141 diabete-free people. The scientists paid extra attention to a part of the brain known as the hippocampus, which plays an extremely important role in memory. Based on the results, the higher a person’s blood sugar levels were, the worse they performed on the test!

“We also found that people with higher blood-sugar levels had smaller volumes in the size of their hippocampus,” said Dr. Agnes Flöel of Charité University Medicine in Berlin. However, the researchers aren’t terribly shocked by their findings.

“It’s not surprising that glucose levels can potentially have these kinds of negative impacts,” said Robert Ratner, the chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. According to him, the risk of catching dementia – a brain condition that impairs memory – is high for individuals with diabetes. “It has been well established that elevated glucose impacts brain function and recovery in people following a stroke,” continued Rantar.

This doesn’t mean that you should never eat sugar, as the researchers point out, but it’s definitely important to consume a healthy balance of sugar, proteins, and carbohydrates. “We know people who live an active lifestyle and eat a healthy diet are less likely to get type 2 diabetes and dementia,” says Rachel Whitmer, a senior research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. “Having a healthy lifestyle is good for the brain.”

Featured image courtesy of Michael Keen on Flickr. Image of shocked kid courtesy of Robbie Grubbs on Flickr.