For some people it’s easy to sit down in an evening and eat a whole package of candy or your favorite Friday night junk food. Have you ever wondered what all that sugar is doing to your body? Recent studies have shown a link between poor memory, learning disorders, and depression with over consumption of sugar. The average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar every year. Where are people getting all this sugar from? Sugar has made its way into almost every prepackaged food in the grocery store. And sugar is not always clearly labeled.

Other names for added sugars in food:

  • barley malt
  • beet sugar
  • brown sugar
  • buttered syrup
  • cane-juice crystals
  • cane sugar
  • caramel
  • carob syrup
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • date sugar
  • dextran
  • dextrose
  • diatase
  • diastatic malt
  • ethyl maltol
  • fructose
  • fruit juice
  • fruit juice concentrate
  • glucose
  • glucose solids
  • golden sugar
  • golden syrup
  • grape sugar
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltodextrin
  • maltose
  • mannitol
  • molasses
  • raw sugar
  • refiner’s syrup
  • sorbitol
  • sorghum syrup
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • turbinado sugar
  • yellow sugar

The body needs naturally occuring sugars, in fruits and plants, to function. Sugars in fruit and plants are not harmful because fruit has fiber to help process the sugar. Brain cells require energy derived from glucose, (blood sugar). The problem lies with all of the added sugars. Research has shown that a diet high in added sugars reduces a chemcial known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Without this chemical our brains lose the capacity to learn new things or form new memories. As the amount of BDFN decreases, sugar metabolism worsens leading to diabetes.

Low levels of BDNF have been linked to depression, dementia, and Alzheimers. What seems clear is that low levels of BDFN is bad for our brains, and chronic added sugar consumption is one of the worst culprits. Research has also shown that a diet high in added sugars effects our brain’s mechanism for telling us to stop eating. Sugars dull the brains response to Oxytocin levels. Once oxytocin cells are blunted from eating too much added sugar the red flag stops working and your body has a hard time regulating when to stop eating.

You can reduce your intake of processed sugars by eating a diet high in organic fruit, meats and vegetables. Start out slow and eliminate a few processed foods at a time. Just be reasonable about what you can accomplish.