Children’s weight gain, learning impairments linked to sugar overload

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Study of mice finds lowered sugar intake tied to a decreased sugar-induced weight gain

A study of mice has revealed a connection between long-term issues and sugar.

Children who consume high quantities of sugar could have notable weight gain, ongoing hyperactivity and learning impairments, according to Australia’s Queensland University of Technology researchers.

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The findings were published Monday in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

“Recent evidence shows obesity and impulsive behaviors caused by poor dietary habits leads to further overconsumption of processed food and beverages, but the long-term effects on cognitive processes and hyperactivity from sugar overconsumption, beginning at adolescence, are not known,” QUT neuroscientist professor Selena Bartlett said in a press release.

Scientists discovered that 5-week-old mice who ate sugar in 12 weeks had significant increases in weight. In response to the significant sugar intake, the nervous system was stimulated abnormally and excessively. Long-term memory of specific events and memories of how to navigate environments also changed.

“These results are like those reported in attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders,” Bartlett said.

“Human trials would need to be done, but it 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 added.

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The study also showed that decreasing mices’ sugar intake four-fold averted sugar-induced weight gain. That supports the American Heart Association’s recommendation for women to have no more than 25 grams of added sugar daily. Men are recommended to keep their added sugar intake at 36 grams or fewer.

On average, the AHA says American adults consume 77 grams of sugar daily — over three times what’s recommended for women. Children consume 81 grams of sugar daily. To subdue your child’s sweet tooth, Parents magazine recommends, changing their breakfast routine, rethinking dessert habits, looking for sugar in the fridge and pantry and reevaluating drinks.

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