How does sugar affect a child’s brain?

Most of us are aware of how quickly sugar effects our immune system. However, sugar not only effects our immune system, but also decreases our children’s brain potential.

According to research, chronically elevated blood sugar levels can negatively affect the way our neurons communicate with each other. This disrupted communication primarily happens in the hippocampus where the brain’s memory center resides.  In addition, sugar can interfere with a normal neurotransmitter production, thus leading to mental health disorders like but not limited to schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.  Other symptoms that can reside from too much sugar are mood swings, brain fog, and fatigue, and memory issues.1

One study that involved sugar and learning showed that elevated levels of insulin increased the formation of neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques in the brain. 2 These tangles, plaques and other amyloid beta neurotoxins have been shown to depress the brain’s ability to learn and it’s long term memory.   The neurotoxins formed in the brain reduce plasticity, and can often lead to Alzheimer’s.

Too much sugar and too many refined carbohydrates all can lead to impairments in insulin which in effect creates a deficiency in energy metabolism, increased oxidative stress, inflammation in the brain and body, and mitochondrial dysfunction.3

It doesn’t take much sugar to affect the brain

Slight elevations  of blood sugar can cause problems.  Some symptoms that may seem unrelated can be associated with a blood sugar increase. Some of these symptoms include  fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, depression, brain fog, headaches, inability to remember things just learned, and focus.

Using alternatives for Sugar

One of our favorite alternatives to cane sugar is Stevia. We personally like the liquid stevia.  Stevia has been shown to not increase blood sugar levels. One of our favorite drinks is Stevia flavored lemonade.