The Not-so-Sweet Side of (Added) Sugar

Who doesn’t like sugar? Whether in coffee, cookies or in soda, it’s no secret that Americans love sugary products. Unfortunately, all that sugar might wind up leaving you in a sour mode.

Subtraction by Addition?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “added sugars” at some in the past. If you’re curious as to what this phrase actually means, the US Food and Drug Administration provides the following definition:

Added sugars include sugars that are added during the processing of foods (such as sucrose or dextrose), foods packaged as sweeteners (such as table sugar), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. They do not include naturally occurring sugars that are found in milk, fruits, and vegetables.”

In a 2020 study, researchers from the University of Kansas attempted to determine how all this added sugar impacted the brain. For their project, the authors reviewed a number of previous studies on this topic, which documented the both the physical and mental effects of added sugar consumption on humans and animals alike.

Too Much, Too Fast

What the team found will come across as a bitter bill for those with a sweet tooth. While added sugars might offer a temporary mental boost, this effect quickly wears off. Once in the body, all of this sugar then kicks off a number of processes that could worsen symptoms of depression. For example, added sugars might disrupt the gut’s microbiota, a collection of microorganisms that plays a major role in our mental health. Likewise, excessive sugar consumption could alter how the brain reacts to dopamine, thereby making it difficult for the afflicted person to feel motivated or experience feelings of pleasure.

The study authors concede that the link between added sugars and depression still has not been conclusively confirmed. However, they still advise adults to strictly limit their consumption of these substances by following guidelines set by the American Heart Association. These guidelines limit daily added sugar consumption to 150 grams for men and 100 for women.

Related Stories

Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most devastating progressive diseases in existence. Those living with this condition can expect …