By John Salak –
There is nothing sweet about the news coming out of Australia, Georgia and Switzerland, especially when it comes to the devastating impact excessive consumption of sugar can have on children.
Kids gobbling too much sugar not only increases their risk of becoming obese and hyperactive, it also raises the threat of them suffering long-term cognitive damage.
These warnings by researchers out of the University of Queensland, Australia, among others, come as the World Health Organization reports that far too many children and adults worldwide are consuming on average four times the daily recommended amount of sugar.
The Queensland report is based on research done on mice, but its authors were quick to note that their results look like they can be easily applied to people.
“More work needs to be done in the investigation of the long-term effects of sugar on adolescents and adults but our results with the mouse model are very promising,” said Selena Professor Bartlett, one of the Australian study’s lead authors.
Human trials are needed to verify the group’s initial conclusions, but Bartlett reports their work “suggests a link to the long-term overconsumption of sugar, beginning at a young age, which occurs more commonly in the Western Diet and an increased risk of developing persistent hyperactivity and neurocognitive deficits in adulthood.”
She also explained that it is widely accepted that the “unrestricted” consumption of high-sugar foods and beverages in developed nations has resulted in an obesity epidemic. Given this, it is not surprising that excessive sugar consumption might lead to cognitive disorders since there is “a strong association between attention-deficits/hyperactivity disorders and being overweight or obese,” Bartlett added.
Similar concerns have also surfaced out of the University of Georgia, which warned high sugar consumption in children and adolescents may impair their learning and memory functions. This research, which was conducted in association with the University of Southern California, discovered the problem may be linked to the impact sweetened beverages has on gut bacteria.
As with the Australian research, the Georgia-based work needs to be developed further to fully assess sugar’s impact. But researcher there noted that sugar consumption is a critical health issue, especially because sugar-high foods are heavily marketed to children.
University of Zurich added their weight to worries over the impact of sugar via research that noted even moderated sugar consumption can bring about health problems.
These Swiss researchers report that even 80 grams of sugar daily can lead to an unhealthy jump in fat production in the liver. “And the overactive fat production continues for a longer period of time, even if no more sugar is consumed,” warned study leader Philipp Gerber.
Gerber’s conclusions were based how almost 100 healthy young men reacted to drinks sweetened with different types of sugar—fructose, glucose or sucrose. The results showed that fructose- and sucrose-based drinks doubled fat production in the liver compared to glucose.
These findings could be significant as increased liver fat production is usually a first step toward problems such as fatty liver and Type-2 diabetes.
“Our results are a critical step in researching the harmful effects of added sugars and will be very significant for future dietary recommendations,” Gerber noted.