What is the Brain-Glucose Relationship?

You’ve likely heard that consuming too much sugar is bad for your overall health. While consuming most things in excess is a recipe for disaster, it is also essential to recognize the effects that sugars have on our bodies to make the best choices that suit our needs. Sugar, or glucose, is vital for effective brain function. But before you eat that next candy bar, let’s take a closer look at how sugar affects your brain.

Brain Function 101
First, it is crucial to understand precisely how the brain functions and what makes it possible to do all of the amazing things it can do.

Your brain is the most powerful organ in the human body. Even though it is relatively small compared to the rest of your body, it demands enormous amounts of energy to function. Your brain effectively consumes half of all of the energy produced by sugar in your body. Your brain is constantly working to maintain your thoughts, memories, learning ability, and routine body functions, such as breathing and keeping your heart beating.

To function correctly, the brain uses glucose as the primary fuel source. Glucose is a relatively simple molecule for the body to break down and utilize as a fuel, and it packs a large amount of “fuel” for the body to use.

Too Much of a Good Thing?
However, supplying the body with too much glucose may have the opposite effect.

Recent studies are exploring some of the links between Type I and II diabetes in animals. These studies suggest the continued overexposure of the brain to high levels of glucose can lead to difficulties with memory and maintaining cognitive abilities.

In addition to impacting brain function, continued exposure to high glucose levels also shows decreases in brain size and function at the cellular level. Further compounding this issue is another issue where blood flow is reduced to the brain. All of these issues continue to harm brain function.

Striking the Balance
While glucose is a critical component for healthy brain function, continued overconsumption of sugars may lead to a host of issues concerning your brain, including brain atrophy, problems with maintaining and creating new memories and allowing your brain to run normal body functions. This all seems to underscore the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. Your diet should include glucose that naturally exists in various fruits and vegetables.