Science Suggests Eating Sugar Has Negative Effects On Our Ability To Think Straight

Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor By Lindsay Kellner
Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor
Lindsay is a freelance writer and certified yoga instructor based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a journalism and psychology degree from New York University. Kellner is the co-author of “The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self Care,” with mbg Sustainability Editor Emma Loewe.

Photo by Sandra Chile

The study, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, suggests that eating sugar can negatively affect our cognitive abilities, particularly our attention.

Researchers examined the effects of different sugars—glucose, a simple sugar; fructose, which is commonly found in fruits and plants; and sucrose, most commonly known as table sugar—against a placebo sweetener, sucralose, which is an artificial sweetener. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, they tested subjects' cognitive abilities using three methods, asking them to do simple math, a timed-response task, and the classic Stroop test (in which color words like red are written in other colors, like blue, and subjects are asked about the color or the word).

Results indicated that thinking is adversely affected for those who consume glucose and sucrose, two sugars that cross the blood-brain barrier when digested. For those who fasted for 10 hours before the test, adverse effects were even stronger.

“Our study suggests that the ‘sugar coma’—with regards to glucose—is indeed a real phenomenon, where levels of attention seem to decline after consumption of glucose-containing sugar,” researcher Mei Peng of University of Otago in New Zealand told PsyPost regarding the study.

So it's glucose, not the perception of sweetness, glucose that determines whether or not you're likely to fall into a sugar coma.

To avoid a sugar coma, check out blood-sugar balancing foods and a list of blood-sugar elevating foods to avoid.

And are you ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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