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Alert: How Sugary Drinks Harm Your Brain And Affect Your Mood

Alert: How Sugary Drinks Harm Your Brain And Affect Your Mood

It’s refreshing to kick back, grab your favorite beverage and simply relax every once in a while. Summer is coming back around and you’ll be sure to see lemonades, iced teas, smoothies and other drinks galore. It’s often difficult to deny every opportunity you get to enjoy a cold, sweet beverage at the poolside, sports event or concert, especially when people say you’ll be happier after drinking something sweet, but is it true? A study finds something different.

How Rats React To Sugary Drinks

Sugar has been under the microscope hundreds of times before now, but it simply continues to receive flack for the lack of nourishment it provides. In fact, sugar often does damage above and beyond simply being void of beneficial micronutrients. Researchers Margaret Morris and Jayanthi Maniam studied female rats and their offspring for a case in which a group of rats was provided a drinkable solution containing a lot of sugar.

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For the experiment, half the rat litters were given normal nesting environments two to nine days after birth, and the other half were given limited nesting environments. This was to create one control set of rats through which to examine early-life stress. After this segment of the experiment was concluded, all rats were returned to regular, healthy nesting environments until they were fully weaned.

At this point, the rats were again split in half, with half receiving regular low-fat food and water. The other half were given food, water and a drinkable solution containing 25 percent sugar. All in all, there were four groups of rats studied. There were rats with a regular diet and weren’t subjected to stress, rats without stress and a diet with the sugar option, rats exposed to stress early on and rats with stress exposure and the sugar option. The rats were then re-examined once they were all about 15 weeks old.

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The Real Relationship between Stress And Sugar

To the researchers’ surprise, rats that were exposed to early-life stress but without the sugar option produced similar brain scans to the rats who were not stressed early on, but had the sugar option in their diet. Researchers Morris and Maniam placed a particular emphasis on the hippocampus, which is a primary region of the brain responsible for stress and memory.

What this started to mean for the research results is that consuming too many sugary beverages can create a stressful effect on your brain. As the study’s results were formulated, the researchers commented that consuming sugary beverages too early in life can affect an individual’s ability to recover well from a stressful situation.

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How Sugary Drinks Affect Brains And Nerves

Even more interestingly, Maniam and Morris found that a gene promoting the growth of nerves was down-regulated by both sugar and stress. This seems to suggest there are far more implications of sugar consumption than have yet been discovered. As mentioned earlier, sugar is often critiqued for its inability to provide substantial nutritional merit, but it seems there are discoveries yet to be made and applied. Mothers and fathers are wise to steer their children clear of sugar often, in order to help promote growth for the nerve-building gene mentioned in the study.

While the research was not considered “conclusive”, there’s no doubt it illustrated a powerful parallel between poor food choices and negative results. Too much of anything can result in unwanted effects. It is not to say all foods and drinks with sugar are always bad, but placing limits on how much you (or your children) consume is simply for the best. Plus, when you consume fewer desserts and treats in general, this means you’ll appreciate each one that much more!

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Brad Johnson

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Last Updated on May 21, 2020

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

1. The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

2. Whole30

The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

During the month you are eliminating:

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  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • legumes
  • grains
  • dairy
  • soy

Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

Finding Out How Food Impacts You

Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

3. The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes & nuts
  • Replacing butter with olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Moderate amounts of red wine

Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

4. The Alkaline Diet

The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

The Big Takeaway:

Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

Reference

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