Navigating Sweeteners: Understanding the Effects of Sugar and Artificial Alternatives on Brain Health
Navigating Sweeteners: Understanding the Effects of Sugar and Artificial Alternatives on Brain Health

By Russell Blaylock

The brain’s fuel comes from one sweet commodity: sugar.

Also known as glucose, sugar acts as the primary energy source for the nervous system’s intricate workings once inside the body. Without its steady supply, our remarkably complex brains would grind to a halt, leaving cognition and neurological function vulnerable to the ravages of degeneration.

I discussed how and why that is with Brendon Fallon on EpochTV’s “Vital Signs.”

The Glucose Effect

Consider the scenario of hypoglycemia, where low blood sugar deprives the brain of its essential fuel. In such circumstances, the brain’s cells are left starved and unable to sustain themselves, leading to cellular degeneration and eventual cell death. This underscores the importance of maintaining adequate glucose levels for brain health and cognitive function.

Research has demonstrated the immediate positive impact of glucose on memory. I have witnessed instances where Alzheimer’s patients experienced temporary memory improvement after consuming glucose, illustrating the direct correlation between glucose levels and cognitive performance. However, this improvement was short-lived, emphasizing the necessity of maintaining stable glucose levels to sustain cognitive function over time.

The brain’s disproportionate consumption of glucose underscores its metabolic significance. Despite its relatively small size compared to other organs, the brain uses over 20 percent of the body’s glucose, highlighting its constant demand for the essential fuel. This high metabolic activity underscores the brain’s dependence on a steady supply of glucose to support its complex functions.

How glucose is consumed also plays a crucial role in its impact on brain health. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, provide a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, ensuring a sustained supply to the brain. In contrast, if you consume simple sugar alone—which happens when you drink sweetened drinks like soda and eat cookies—your body will produce excessive insulin, lowering your blood glucose levels and ultimately starving your brain.

Sugar and Mental Health

Excessive glucose levels can harm brain health, a condition known as glucotoxicity. Prolonged exposure to high glucose levels can overwhelm brain cells, leading to cellular damage and dysfunction, contributing to various neurological disorders.

Beyond its direct effects on brain health, excessive glucose consumption has also been implicated in the development of mood disorders, such as depression. Too much glucose in the body can lead to the overproduction of glutamate, a neurotransmitter whose excess is associated with depression.

When glucose levels in the brain drop, it triggers the secretion of excessive amounts of glutamate. This overabundance of glutamate is linked to the development of depression, as it causes an excessive reaction in the brain regions associated with depressive states. This imbalance of glutamate levels may also contribute to the onset of other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.

It is important to note here, though, that depression and other mental disorders are not solely caused by excessive glucose consumption. In mental health, there are a lot of contributing factors, but diet and what we put into our bodies should stop being overlooked and taken into consideration.

The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

The dangers of excessive sugar consumption are well-known—hypertension, chronic inflammation, fatty liver disease—and this is why many people turn to artificial sweeteners as an alternative.

Using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) comes with its own set of risks. Studies have linked these sweeteners to many health problems, including liver damage, heart issues, and an increased risk of certain cancers.

Furthermore, artificial sweeteners have been shown to disrupt the body’s antioxidant balance, further elevating the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Aspartame, in particular, has been associated with lymphoma and brain tumors, while sucralose has been shown to inhibit immune function, underscoring the potential health risks associated with these commonly used sweeteners.

In contrast, monk fruit, a natural sweetener, is a safer sweetener option with negligible adverse health effects. We don’t find any negative reactions to monk fruit juice or powder when used as a sweetener.

A Balance to Be Struck

The intricate relationship between sugar consumption and brain health underscores the importance of mindful dietary choices in preserving cognitive function and overall well-being. Individuals can support optimal brain health and mitigate the risk of associated health complications by prioritizing complex carbohydrates and natural sweeteners while minimizing the intake of simple sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Remember: Damage from artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, can be cumulative, eventually leading to harmful effects, even in low doses. In emergencies, ketones can fuel about 50 percent of the brain cells’ needs, even higher. They also have several other beneficial effects.

Our bodies are perfect instruments, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health. What’s important is finding that balance and taking steps to better our wellness and to be more educated.

USNN World News (USNN) USNN World News Corporation is a media company consisting of a series of sites specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information, local,...