You probably knew that high sugar levels in the body could trigger conditions like diabetes and obesity. But did you know that recent studies have revealed a connection between excess sugar and Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is caused by the collection of protein tangles in and around the brain cells. These protein tangles are toxic to the nerve cells, which begin to eventually die off. This leads to irreparable damage to memory, cognitive ability, and reasoning.
How Does Excess Sugar Cause Alzheimer’s?
Research had already proven that glucose and its break-down products can damage proteins in cells. This damage is caused through a reaction called glycation. But the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer’s was not clear. However, scientists working at the University of Bath and King’s College London have now discovered the connection.
They found out that an enzyme named Macrophage Migratory Inhibitory Factor, or MIF, gets damaged in the brain during glycation. MIF plays a role in insulin regulation in the body. MIF is also involved in the response of brain cells named ‘glia.’Glia works against the build-up of abnormal proteins in Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe that the reduction and the damage caused to the MIF is definitely the “tipping point” for Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, as the disease progresses, the damage to MIF increases, resulting in cognitive failure.
Avoid These Sugar-Rich Foods
Sugar by itself is bad enough for your health. In addition, there are also other foods that convert to sugar on being digested into your bloodstream. It is important to be aware of what goes your food to maintain a healthy level of sugar in the body. The list of sugar rich foods includes:
- Starchy vegetables – Potato, sweet potato, green peas, and corn
- Grains – Such as rice and those contained in bread, bagels, pasta, noodles
- Fruits – such as mangoes, grapes and figs
- Processed food – Canned, processed items such as jams, syrups, powdered soups, ketchup etc.
Sugar-rich foods promoted as healthy & low-calorie options:
- Flavored yogurt
- Granola bars
- Sweetened oatmeal
- Chocolate milk or sweetened soy milk
Globally there are around 50 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. What’s worse, this figure is predicted to more than double (125 million) by 2050. Therefore, any treatment or preventive measure for Alzheimer’s become important. Alzheimer’s is easier to prevent than to cure. So the best defense is to stay away from foods, such as those containing excess sugar, to prevent this disease.