Effects of Sugar on the Brain and Memory

I thought this was interesting, because it talks about sugar and spatial memory:
The Effects of a High-Energy Diet on Hippocampal Function and Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity in the Rat

Cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease are linked with intake of a Western diet, characterized by high levels of saturated fats and simple carbohydrates. In rats, these dietary components have been shown to disrupt hippocampal-dependent learning and memory processes, particularly those involving spatial memory. Using a rat model, the present research assessed the degree to which consumption of a high-energy (HE) diet, similar to those found in modern Western cultures, produces a selective impairment in hippocampal function as opposed to a more global cognitive disruption. Learning and memory performance was examined following 90-day consumption of an HE-diet in three nonspatial discrimination learning problems that differed with respect to their dependence on the integrity of the hippocampus. The results showed that consumption of the HE-diet impaired performance in a hippocampal-dependent feature negative discrimination problem relative to chow-fed controls, whereas performance was spared on two discrimination problems that do not rely on the hippocampus. To explore the mechanism whereby consuming HE-diets impairs cognitive function, we investigated the effect of HE-diets on the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We found that HE-diet consumption produced a decrease in mRNA expression of tight junction proteins, particularly Claudin-5 and -12, in the choroid plexus and the BBB. Consequently, an increased blood-to-brain permeability of sodium fluorescein was observed in the hippocampus, but not in the striatum and prefrontal cortex following HE-diet access. These results indicate that hippocampal function may be particularly vulnerable to disruption by HE-diets, and this disruption may be related to impaired BBB integrity.

(Via this page)

This other article doesn’t talk about memory, but I was shocked to read that a medical organization suggests eating 25% of calories from added sugar:

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans say it is acceptable for some people to consume up to 19% of calories from added sugars, and the Institute of Medicine permits up to 25% of total calories from added sugars. In contrast, the World Health Organization recommends that added sugars should make up no more than 10% of an entire day's caloric intake, with a proposal to lower this level to 5% or less for optimal health. Such levels would be more in line with what the authors would recommend and similarly restrictive to existing American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations--to consume no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day for women and no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) of sugar per day for men.

See also:


(Edit: I merged the other post below.)

This is interesting:
Eating High Levels Of Fructose Impairs Memory In Rats

Researchers at Georgia State University have found that diets high in fructose — a type of sugar found in most processed foods and beverages — impaired the spatial memory of adult rats.

And How Fructose Impairs the Memory:

Another research group has shown in hamsters that insulin resistance can affect the hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for learning and remem­bering facts and events. Parent’s team is examining whether the hippocampus of the memory-impaired rats became resis­tant to the hormone.