November 11, 2010Scientific data has linked excess sugar consumption to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes for decades. Recent studies expand the negative effects of refined sugar consumption to brain health! This research indicates that good blood sugar levels are particularly important for memory-building. This is because high blood sugar levels affect a part of the brain critical to learning and memory - the dentate gyrus, which is located in the hippocampus - that contributes to new memories as well as other functional roles. The dentate gyrus has high rates of new growth in adults, it is through this growth that our memories are built. Nutrition and exercise are the keys to controlling your sugar levels. A 2001 study evaluating exercise in women 65 years and older found that for each mile walked per day, there was 13% lower odds of development or progression of mental decline. Additionally, for every 1,700 calories spent actively exercising there was a 14% decline of the risk. It is important to note that these studies indicate that protection afforded by exercise only occurs with regular exercise. Higher levels of exercise, at least 3 times or more per week had a higher benefit. Recently, the Heart Association recommended that most women should limit their sugar intake to 100 calories, or about six teaspoons a day, while men should limit their intake to 150 calories or nine teaspoons. In the age of processed foods, this is particularly challenging. A 12-ounce serving of cola has approximately 130 calories -- 8 teaspoons of sugar! In fact a nutritional survey that spanned from 2001 to 2004 indicates that Americans consume an average of 355 calories, more than 22 teaspoons of sugar each day! Think about replacing refined sugar with naturally occurring sweeteners! There are several available and more are reaching the market every day:
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April 17, 2014
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