Kids and sugar — the two are often closely intertwined by mutual love.
And while most parents know that too much sugar is not good for their children, you might want to think about drastically reducing the amount of sugar your child eats after reading this article.
New research published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience is telling us that sugar might have the same impact on a child’s brain as psychological trauma.
Australian and Indian researchers set out at the beginning of their study with a hypothesis: could foods high in sugar and fat assist in regenerating a hippocampus damaged by stress.
The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for short- and long-term memories and your sense of direction. And when it is exposed to stress, conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may set in.
Researchers examined newborn rats who had stress-damaged hippocampi due to poor nesting.
In order to see if sugar and fat could ‘heal’ this damage, different groups of the rats were exposed to diets containing various amounts of sugar and fats — and the extreme opposite of the researchers’ original hypthesis was shown to be true.
What they discovered was that sugar (as well as stress) reduced the re-growth of damaged brain cells in the hippocampus by more than 40%, also compromising the ability to learn new things.
In other words, the over-consumption of sugar may result in serious psychiatric issues, similar to those caused by extreme stress.
While remembering that this study was conducted on rats, the authors caution that “if similar effects occur in humans, early life adversity and high sugar diet may independently increase the risk for psychopathology later in life.”
They also note that “limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages across the community may be an effective way to curtail the burden of psychiatric disorders.”
Read: How much sugar is in your child’s favourite drink?
Food for thought, mums and dads?
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