Sugar and long-term memory: a fitting match?
For years the media have been preaching it like the Lord's Prayer, and there are tons of sugar alternatives in the grocery store: Sugar is considered one of the unhealthiest foods, it is supposed to increase the body volume, kill vital substances and do a lot of other damage to the human body. The mental performance and the long-term memory in connection with sugar have so far been a niche existence, but for gamers they are marked with a red exclamation mark.
Vitality for your brain - why mental performance depends on sugar
Sugar supplies your brain with energy, which can be put into action very quickly thanks to the simple sugar glucose (also known as dextrose). Especially when your body is very challenged or you are in a stressful situation, the sugar supply is essential. This ensures that your hardworking brain is supplied with vitality, because it works 24/7 - all your life, without any break. Although it weighs only 2% of your body weight, its energy consumption is a quarter of your capacity.
While the brain is able to store a lot of information and release it at the appropriate time, it cannot store energy. Therefore, it is permanently rush hour in your brain in terms of energy supply. This is realized by a continuous blood flow. Glucose acts as fuel at this moment, which your brain likes very much.
Hybrid operation in the brain - this is what happens when your brain does not get any sugar
It takes about one to two days for the sugar reserves in your liver and muscles to be completely depleted. If no sugar is supplied, your brain goes into hybrid mode. Instead of glucose, it now burns so-called ketones, which are the waste products of fatty acids. Ketones are formed when your body falls back on fat deposits. It does this whenever there is no glucose to burn, but also when your diet is low in sugar and carbohydrates. Unlike fatty acids, ketones are water-soluble and travel well through the bloodstream. Therefore, they quickly arrive in the energetically valuable mitochondria and can give there in terms of combustion proper fuel. The result is energy for your brain.
Game over - this is how your body reacts to too much sugar
If you give your brain the energy it craves in large quantities, two effects can occur that are anything but promising. This can be an absolute craving for sweets. To flush sugar out of your blood and into your body's cells, your pancreas works hard. It does this by producing large amounts of the hormone insulin. If the consumption of glucose is greater than the amount your body can access, hypoglycemia occurs. As a result, your concentration plummets and all your brain's warning lights go on. The craving for sweets gains new power.
In addition, a metabolic disorder may also develop. This happens due to the large amounts of insulin produced in the blood on a permanent basis. If at some point the pancreas can no longer keep up with this pace, diabetes mellitus type 2 may develop.
Sugar and the attack on your long-term memory
In a study on rats, the University of California investigated how sugar affects long-term memory. For this purpose, the rats ran through a maze for five days before two groups of animals were given a solution containing fructose for six weeks. In addition, one group received healthy omega-3 fatty acids. After the sugar diet, the animals had to master the course again. The pure fructose group crossed the finish line with a poorer long-term memory than the group with the additional omega-3 fatty acids.
Why is this happening?
According to the study, this is due to free radicals that are transported into brain membranes and prevent the nerve cells from communicating. As a result, information is said to be passed on much more slowly, so that long-term memory can be damaged. In addition, there is a clear link between an increased consumption of sugar and a reduced ability to follow processes and instructions.
Mental performance in focus - here's how your long-term memory can be affected by sugar
In the memory center of your brain - the hippocampus - sugar can bring your long-term memory to its knees in many ways. If you eat a diet high in sugar and fat, or consume a large amount of granulated sugar through refined or table sugar, sugar can have a negative impact on long-term memory. In addition, it may cause inflammation in your memory center.
If fructose (fruit sugar) is present in your diet to a greater extent, this can lead to poorer long-term memory and learning difficulties. Also when your blood sugar level is elevated in the short term or long term. This may then be reflected in inferior memory performance and learning ability. There is a common saying that sugar shrinks the brain. This goes back to a smaller volume. Inflammation in the hippocampus can also play a role, causing neurons in this segment to die.
Unsteady insulin levels - when the peak is displaced by a subsequent drop in insulin levels
By consuming sugar, you initially provide your brain with an energy boost. This can have a positive effect on your mood. But as high as it feels for you, a concentration hole can soon swallow you up. As your concentration wanes, so does your motivation. So that you become slower in your reaction ability. Since the intake of sugar increases the release of insulin, it should also lead to an increased release of the hormone and neurotransmitter dopamine.
You can feel very energetic as a result. However, the amount of insulin released is often higher than your actual needs. This can cause your performance to drop to a very low level soon after and your blood glucose level to drop in parallel. However, it sinks lower than it should be for the normal level.
Bad Mood - here's how sugar and mood are related
The rapid drop in blood sugar levels can cause you to be overcome by fatigue, have difficulty concentrating, and be more easily distracted. It is also not uncommon to feel really exhausted. It is a signal from your body and a call for replenishment. The ups and downs in your body can therefore have a direct effect on your mood. You may feel annoyed, impatient and get a temper, which in combination with the "eaten" long-term memory is a far from desirable situation. To prevent sugar from destroying your long-term memory and to maintain your performance, it is advisable to minimize your sugar consumption. You can achieve this primarily through a healthy diet, so that your insulin level remains consistently at a stable level. As a result, your ability to concentrate can improve first and foremost, but your mood can also benefit from a proper good mood boost. A healthy, low-sugar diet includes foods that are rich in fiber and protein. You can replace sweet pastries, cookies and chocolate with an apple or a healthy snack salad. Fish provides you with the omega-3 fatty acids that are so important.
The interaction between sugar and long-term memory is extremely complex. It takes a strong will to change existing habits and abstain from sweets. Too much sugar can affect your long-term memory, but also your mental performance in the short term. Therefore, it is advisable to switch to a diet rich in fiber and protein. This way, your insulin levels no longer have to ride a roller coaster and can relax and settle at a solid level. Mission accomplished?
For the reasons mentioned above, LOOT hardly contains any sugar, but also almost no sugar substitutes. Honestly, you can't do without sugar, otherwise many products, like ours, just don't taste good because of the bitter substances and many other ingredients (such as ginkgo leaves). But if the fraction of sugar and sweetener in our products compares with apple juice spritzer, cola or a Redbull is quickly comprehensible: Here sugar was minimized and performance maximized.