Too Much Fat And Sugar Damages Your Brain


A doughnut—the perfect storm of fat and sugar—may be the worst option at the breakfast bar, not just for your body, but also for your brain, suggests new research from Oregon State University.

A high-fat and high-sugar diet led to decreased cognitive functioning in mice, the researchers found. Surprisingly, these changes in the brain appear to be mediated through the gut bacteria, a connection known as the gut-brain axis.

Mice in the study were fed either a high-fat and high-sugar diet or a normal diet. Those on the fatty/sugary diet saw a shift in gut bacteria that was linked to a loss of cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt to changing situations) and short- and long-term memory. 

Related - Healthy Eating Is The Smartest Way To Sustain Brain Power

Kathy Magnusson, PhD, principal investigator and professor of biomedical sciences at Oregon State University, describes cognitive flexibility in terms of driving home from work. When your normal route is suddenly closed for construction, if you have high cognitive flexibility, you can figure out quickly the best alternative route (and remember in the morning to also follow the detour rather than attempt go your usual way).

"It's increasingly clear that our gut bacteria, or microbiota, can communicate with the human brain," said Magnusson. "Bacteria can release compounds that act as neurotransmitters, stimulate sensory nerves or the immune system, and affect a wide range of biological functions."

This connection between the brain and the gut is called the gut-brain axis, and it's a two-way street: Not only does the brain send messages to the gut, but the gut also sends messages to the brain.

Gerard Mullin, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the author of The Gut Balance Revolution, explains that the gut talks to the brain, influencing your mood (including depression and anxiety), attention (including attention deficit disorders), and even neurodegenerative disease processes (such as those involved in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's).

On an ongoing basis, hormones from the gut impact the appetite control centers of the brain, but bacterial shifts can hurt your health.

Related - 7 Healthy Foods That Help Detoxify The Body

"When there's an imbalance in your gut bacteria, that is going to create shifts in your expression of gut hormones," says Dr. Mullin. "It'll cause the gut lining to become more permeable.

That will allow the bacterial toxins to disseminate and cause an inflammatory reaction, which can affect brain function adversely." (Intestinal permeability is also commonly known as "leaky gut.")

"Many years ago, naturopaths and holistically oriented doctors understood that bacterial imbalances were problematic," he says.

"They knew that to get healthy you had to rebalance the gut bacteria. But modern science, which is very pill oriented, has been proactively dismissive of these things and felt it was predicated on quackery. Now the evidence is so overwhelming, and more and more people appreciate it."

From Rodale Wellness

Post a Comment


  1. That is really a shocking news for me. I had been told that the sugar can be very helpful to our brain. And the fat can make you obese. And now I am informed that the fat and sugar will destroy my brain??


For More health, fitness tips and motivational tips Follow us on
Instagram: @naijagym

Facebook: @naijagym

See other Related Articles below