Stop feeding sugar to your child, it affects brain development

Healthy Foods Contributor
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We all know about the health hazards that sugar does more or less. Excess sugar causes diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Sometimes it can cause impaired memory function. But who doesn’t love eating sugar! It is no surprise that children are the highest consumers of added sugar foods or beverages. But a little has been explored in the area of brain development when it’s linked with sugar consumption. Recently a team of researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Southern California studied a rodent model on this subject. Their new findings recently got published in Translational Psychiatry.

How this study on feeding sugar was conducted?

The team of scientists fed some rodents sugar-sweetened beverages. With time they studied their ability to learn and test their memory. It was found that consumption of sugar during adolescence impairs performance on a learning and memory task during adulthood. It affects the hippocampus area of the brain which is crucial for learning and memory. Excessive sugar changes the bacterial ecosystem in the gut. While studying, it is found that this change in bacteria is the reason behind memory impairment. To prove this, the team experimentally injected Parabacteroids in the guts of the rodents. It was seen that the rodents, in this case, experience memory deficits, although they did not consume sugar.

What do we get to know from this study?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, added sugar should contribute to less than 10% of calories per day. But according to a study, children between 9-18 usually have the bulk of calories coming from sugar-sweetened beverages. Studying with rats, professor Emily Noble said, “A group of rats was given 11% sugar solution during adolescence. It has been seen that they suffer from impaired capacity to identify an object, specific to a certain context. The other group that did not consume sugar, completed the task easily.”

Additionally, it has been seen that high sugar consumption elevates levels of Parabacteroids in the gut microbiome. To find out the bacteria-induced memory problem, a group of rodents was injected with Parabacteroids. It is seen that the rats showed impairment in both hippocampal-dependent and independent memory tasks. According to Professor Noble, “One needs to identify the process by which the gut bacteria impacts brain development. Then only we would know about the optimal environment that a brain needs to grow healthily.”

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