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Is SUGAR responsible for rising dementia cases?

The Star

By SARAH GRIFFITHS

A diet high in sugar could be damaging your brain as well as inflating your waistline, scientists have warned.

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Scientists claim that eating lots of sugar and other carbohydrates, harms both the brain's structure and function.

In the past research has linked sugary foods with obesity but a new study has now found the risks associated with a sugar-laden diet could have more widespread health implications, eating away at a person's brain power.

A team at Charité University Medical Centre in Berlin found eating lots of sugar and other carbohydrates harms both the brain's physical structure as well as its function.

They discovered high levels of glucose are associated with worse memory in healthy adults and could poetntially lead to more people suffering dementia.

The new research backs up previous studies, which have shown that diabetes - characterised by high levels of blood glucose - has been linked to an increased risk of dementia, Scientific American reported.

Experts have also previously found that high blood sugar levels are linked to a smaller hippocampus, which is an area of the brain used for remembering events and facts.

As part of the new study, scientists wanted to find out whether glucose has a negative effect on memory in healthy people without diabetes.

They looked at short-term and long-term glucose markers in 141 healthy adults without any signs of diabetes, who took a memory test.

The participants also underwent an MRI scan to examine the structure of their hippocampus.

The experiment revealed that higher glucose blood levels were linked with bad memory as well as a smaller hippocampus.

Agnes Flöel, a neurologist at Charité and co-author of the study, said the results “provide further evidence that glucose might directly contribute to hippocampal atrophy”.

However, she said the study cannot confirm a causal relation between brain health and eating lots of sugar.

Scientists will explore whether dietary and lifestyle changes might reverse changes in the brain.

Experts recently urged people to halve their sugar intake to just five teaspoons a day, in order to tackle soaring obesity levels. – Daily Mail

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