Another Reason to Ditch Saturated Fat and Sugar:  They Make You Stupid

Two recent studies have found that consumption of sugar-rich foods and saturated fats are associated with decreases in memory, slower learning and reduces brain functioning. In other words, eating sugar and fat makes you dumb. What’s worse is that these changes could lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Part I of this two part series will highlight the dangers of sugar consumption on brain health and what you can do to stop it.

Sugar makes you dumber, but fish oil can help

The first study, published in the Journal of Physiology, showed that a diet consistently high in fructose (i.e., high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, corn syrup, etc.) slows the brain and hinders memory and learning; in essence, eating high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.

However, that same study found that omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA found in fish oils can protect your brain from the damaging effects of too much sugar. Does this mean you should continue to eat a high-sugar diet and just pop some fish oil capsules? No! It means that if you want to maximize your brain health, improve your memory and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia you should dramatically reduce the amount of processed sugar in your diet and start consuming a high-quality fish oil supplement on a regular basis.

The researchers added that they were “less concerned about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which contain important antioxidants” but “more concerned about the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.” According to the US Department of Agriculture the average American consumes roughly 47 pounds of cane sugar and 35 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup every year. It’s no wonder our standardized test scores are dropping while our health care costs sky-rocket. You can begin to change all that by realizing that what you eat dramatically affects your health and how you think.

Part 2 of this two part series will highlight the negative effects of saturated and trans fats on your brain and how you can improve your brain function with a few simple changes in what you eat.