We all know how bad sugar is for our body but there are few of us who try to avoid it no matter what. Called “the white death” by some experts, sugar is extremely dangerous to our bodies because it is cancer cells’ favorite food, it can compromise your immune system, it leads to diabetes and obesity and it is highly addictive.
A new research carried out by experts from Oregon State University says that sugar, along with fat, does not only cause damage to our bodies but also to our brain.
Thus, a diet rich in fat and sugar can prompt changes in gut bacteria – microbiome, which can lead to modifications in cognitive flexibility. This refers to the person’s ability to adapt to change.
“We’ve known for a while that too much fat and sugar are not good for you. This work suggests that fat and sugar are altering your healthy bacterial systems, and that’s one of the reasons those foods aren’t good for you. It’s not just the food that could be influencing your brain, but an interaction between the food and microbial changes,” said lead author Dr. Kathy Magnusson, who is a biomedical scientist at Oregon State University.
The study also proves that a diet that is too rich in sugar can affect the person’s short and long-term memory.
The researchers carried out experiments on mice to prove their theories. They distributed the mice in three groups and fed them separately either with food rich in sugar, rich in fat or a normal diet. Afterwards, they tested the mice both physically and mentally and evaluated what was going on in their gut and how this was linked to their performance.
It was soon proved that the mice who had been fed a normal diet had better cognitive functions and better memory compared to the ones who had a diet that was rich in sugar or fat.
Therefore, the bad bacteria found in the mice’s gut directly affected their cognitive functions.
Even if it was not established how microbiome influences the brain, one assumption is that the bacteria can affect the immune system. This, in turn, may activate the an inflammatory response.
The study, which was published in the journal Neuroscience, could lead to a better understanding of how diets can affect our ability to adapt to change or understand things that are completely new to us.
Image Source: hungryforchange