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The truth about sugar: is it good or bad for the brain?

For the nervous cells to function properly, the amount of sugar in the blood must be within certain limits. “Nervous cell cannot survive and prosper without glucose in the blood, also known as blood sugar. This is the medicine Nature provides to you so that you become more clever and cheerful. ” (Jean Carver, Your Miracle Brain) Glucose in the blood improves memory and concentration and increases the ability for learning, being the source of energy for the body and for the brain. Therefore glucose is extremely important for the proper functioning of the brain.

“Amazingly, although the brain represents only 2% of the body weight, it can use 20 to 30 per cent of the entire body energy. Furthermore, the brain stores such a small amount of glucose or energy that if the reserve is not replenished, it would run out in 10 minutes!” (Jean Carver, Your Miracle Brain)

What happens when there is not enough sugar in the blood

In severe cases, memory and mood disorders or perturbations in the functioning of the brain can occur . The lack of glucose in the blood can affect our memory, capacity of attention, concentration and state of mind. Sugars, carbohydrates and certain proteins arrive in the bloodstream as glucose after being digested and metabolized.

Though essential, glucose becomes extremely harmful in large amounts. The amount of sugar in the blood gets higher or lower depending on the carbohydrates we ingest. When the level is too low or too high, memory can be impaired.

Improving memory in elderly subjects

After performing several experiments, Doctors Gold and Donna Korol came to the conclusion that some memory loss associated with old age could be reversed just by increasing the amount of glucose in the blood. Furthermore, it seems that a higher level of glucose has positive effects on the memory of Alzheimer patients. Research has shown very good results for such patients who followed a diet rich in carbohydrates: pasta, bread, grain, sugar.

“In such cases, the benefits seem to weigh more than the risks commonly associated with high levels of sugar in the blood.” (Dr. Donna Korol)

Never too much

When carbohydrates are converted into glucose, the pancreas produces insulin, the hormone that carries glucose to the cells. If the sugar ingested arrives in the body gradually, the whole process will take place in a normal way. Problems appear when the level of blood sugar gets too high too fast, because the pancreas will have to produce even more insulin. If this happens on a regular basis, the pancreas will get tired, “ending up by discharging insulin with too weak and insufficient effects to be able to control the sugar in the blood”. The pancreas will produce more and more insulin in order to lower the amount of sugar.

Eventually, we will experience the so-called “insulin resistance”, the effects of which are type 2 diabetes or vascular problems affecting the brain. Large amounts of insulin and sugar stiffen the arteries and thicken the walls of the carotid, which vascularizes the head and, implicitly, the brain. Moreover, research has shown that a constantly high level of glucose has negative effects upon the brain, diabetics having a risk of stroke three times higher than non-diabetics.

Keep the situation under control

The genetic factor is very important in this equation. Some people have a better control over their glycemia, while others can more easily develop a resistance to insulin.

Nevertheless, life style and nutrition have a much greater impact on glycemia. To prevent disorders, we should limit the intake of saturated animal fats and some carbohydrates. People of old times also ate food rich in carbohydrates, but these carbohydrates came from fruit, vegetables, beans and honey, while ours come from sugar and finely processed flour. The secret is not to limit the intake of carbohydrates, because not all of them are dangerous, but to know which are best for our brain.

“Essentially, carbohydrates differ in their capacity to raise glucose levels – some packing a short and powerful glucose punch while others provide a steady, gradual effect.” (Jean Carper, Your Miracle Brain)

Further information on foods essential for maintaining the health of the brain and of the whole body can be found in the book Alkalize or Die by Theodore A. Baroody.

Walter Willett, nutrition expert at Harvard School for Public Health states that both white bread and white potatoes cause the same high blood sugar as do sweets, maybe even higher, therefore amylum can also have a quick effect. The truth is that each food has its own effect on blood sugar. The best example may be dates: they quickly cause high blood sugar, while dry apricots do not have this effect. You should eat slow-release carbohydrate foods, such as seafood, fish, eggs, lentil, cottage cheese, beans, mushrooms, spinach, brown rice, pea proteins, wheat proteins, olive oil, macadamia oil, grapes oil, kefir, water, tea – they gradually increase blood sugar and support intense fat burning.

Source: Jean Carper, Your Miracle Brain

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The truth about sugar: is it good or bad for the brain? by Technology For Life is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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