Why should we avoid Sugar for Brain Health?
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Why should we avoid Sugar for Brain Health?

To paraphrase David Sinclair, Ph.D. from his 2019 book Lifespan, from Harvard University, who has studied longevity and aging for over 3 decades with many of his talented and prolific colleagues:

Sugar creates a type of genetic warfare that impacts the quality of life, longevity, and many other areas of our life, including our ability to have a healthy brain.

Aging is a disease which we are not treating effectively.

There are foods we can and should be eating which produce NMN, which produces NAD, which creates a healthier and more resilient DNA… in other words, nutrition can improve our quality of life and our longevity.

The challenge with both children and adults is that sugar is in most processed foods. It is our responsibility to help children learn about the connection between eating foods with sugars, and what it does to our brain, emotional stability, memory, and ability to learn. We are the ones children look to for guidance, both informal and formal. Think about foods which have sugar in them. This is just an incredibly tiny list.

  • Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino: 60 grams of sugar, (12+ teaspoons)
  • SMOOTHIES Bought in stores: 30 – 60 grams of sugar, (6 – 12 teaspoons)
  • MUFFINS bought in stores: 30+ grams of sugar, (6+ teaspoons) 
  • SOME brands of YOGURT: 30+ grams of sugar, (6+ teaspoons)
  • GRANOLA BARS: 20+ grams of sugar, (4+ teaspoons)
  • BOTTLED JUICES: 20+ grams of sugar, (4+ teaspoons)
  • LOW FAT YOGURT: up to 45 grams of sugar, (4.5+ teaspoons)
  • KETCHUP: 1 Tablespoon of Ketchup,  (1+ teaspoon of sugar)
  • SPORTS DRINKS: up to 38 grams of sugar, (roughly 10 teaspoons)
  • MANY PROTEIN BARS: up to 20 grams of sugar, (4+ teaspoons)
  • VITAMINWATER: 30 grams of sugar, (6+ teaspoons of sugar)
  • BREAKFAST CEREAL MARKETED FOR CHILDREN: 12+ grams of sugar for small serving (3+ teaspoons)

That’s not even including the processed fast food that I used to eat, and which many consume. Additionally, sugar has been shown to have an impact on, and/or potentially impact:

  • Growth of Cancerous tumors
  • Growth of Benign tumors
  • Diabetes
  • Alzeihmers (referenced as Diabetes Type 3 by some)
  • Emotional Instability

I encourage you to do your own research if that helps you understand the severity of sugar consumption. Moving onward…. Let’s explore some simple and profound strategies which can help us guide children in understanding and wanting to avoid sugar. Yes, I’m talking about… 

…educating our children so that they have a strong desire to AVOID sugar, and to understand how it makes them feel, both in the short and long term.

Strategies

Embody what sugar does to our energy

Using our bodies in playful ways, play a sort of “Before and After” game with young children. Sugar gives us a quick rush, and then… you know what happens… we crash! With the children with whom you interact, show them what our bodies do when we consume sugar. With your body, show high energy followed by low energy. Ask your children to play with you, as you both pick one food after another to help them comprehend what helps and what hurts their body, brain, and mind.


Embody what sugar does to our memory

Openly discuss that we can have a great memory, if we “feed our brain healthy food”. Share that there are superfoods, like broccoli, avocado, and other greens, which our brain thrives on, and sugars literally clog our memory, and make life a lot less fun.

Embody how sugar creates inflammation

Using your body, act as if you are a balloon and are blowing up when you eat sugar. Embody how we walk differently when our knees become inflamed, how our shoulders work when inflamed, and so on. The more you can model the physicality of what happens the more profound the learning..

Finally, it helps to find something to substitute for sugar, and my favorite is Monk fruit drops! 200 times sweeter than sugar, and it comes from an Asian fruit, known as Monkfruit. I have used in oatmeal instead of brown sugar, in muffins instead of sugar, and in my smoothies. 0 sugar and it’s also not an alcohol sugar.

For a sweet life, we need to consume less sugar. When you choose to stay off sugar for even just a week, you’ll notice the difference related to mental clarity, less aches, and your palette will begin to change for the better. Eventually, your cravings for sugar will lessen, as mine have.

Peace and Health,

Abrazos!

Enrique