Sugar and Children

One of the most basic dietary changes that Nutritionhelp will make is to remove sugars from the diet. One reason for this is if a client has an overgrowth of the intestinal yeast Candida albicans, all sugars and refined grains can feed that yeast, thus encouraging its activity and presence. Starving the yeast by avoiding all types of sugar forms a main component of Nutritionhelp’s approach to bringing Candida albicans under control.

Sugar however, also has many other negative effects, some of which I will write about in the New Year. It is therefore always encouraging when clients see the benefit of not only changing their own diet, but also the foods that their families eat, particularly reducing the added sugar that children consume in breakfast cereals and lunch box treats.

The following article from Time For Wellness includes some great research on how sugar can impact mental development in children and adolescents – another reason to keep them off the fizzy drinks…

"An experimental study has revealed that high fructose corn syrup can increase inflammation in the brain and negatively impact cognitive function and memory in adolescence.

Intake of refined sugars has increased dramatically in the last few decades, with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sucrose (table sugar) the two most common. Human and animal studies have suggested that sugar can adversely effect mental health and cognitive function, but the relationship is still not entirely clear.

Sucrose and HFCS differ in two ways; 1) the ratio of fructose to glucose, with 50:50 for sucrose and 55:42 for HFCS, and 2) fructose and glucose are “free” sugars in HFCS but are “bound” in sucrose. These difference has led to the suggestion they have different health effects.

So to see if sucrose or HFCS adversely effect brain health in different ways. Researchers conducted an experiment where rats were fed diets high in either sucrose or HFCS (11% sugar in their water vs. plain water) then assessed brain health and cognitive function.

It was discovered that added sugars had adverse effects with evidence of increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 6, interleukin 1β) in the hippocampus, a part of the brain essential for learning, memory and cognition. The sugars also impaired hippocampal-dependent learning and memory.

These effects were stronger for HFCS than sucrose and more pronounced in adolescence, but not adulthood, suggesting particular susceptibility to the adverse effects of sugar on developing brains.

Commenting on their findings the researchers noted “Overall these data have important implications regarding the impact of consuming added sugars in excess during critical periods of development, and highlight the fact that both cognitive and metabolic disruptions can arise from adolescent consumption of HFCS and sucrose.”

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