How eating too many sweets could make you FORGETFUL: Having high blood sugar levels can cause memory problems
- Maintaining low blood sugar levels is good for the brain
- Study showed people with too much sugar in their blood were less able to recall a list of 15 words 30 minutes after they had heard them
- Suggests lowering blood sugar levels could be a way of preventing cognitive decline with age
Bad news if you’ve got a sweet tooth – eating too many sweets could make you forgetful.
Researchers have found that maintaining low sugar levels in the blood is good for the brain.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, showed people with too much sugar in their blood were more likely to have memory problems.
Researchers looked at 141 people with an average age of 63 who did not have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Those with less sugar in their blood were more likely to score well on memory tests.
The researchers found that people with high levels of sugar in their blood were less able to recall a list of 15 words 30 minutes after hearing them.
An increase of about seven mmol/mol of a long-term marker of glucose control called HbA1c went along with remembering two fewer words.
Dr Agnes Floel, of Charite University Hospital in Berlin, said: ‘These results suggest even for people within the normal range of blood sugar lowering their blood sugar levels could be a promising strategy for preventing memory problems and cognitive decline as they age.
‘Strategies such as lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity should be tested.’
Volunteers who were overweight, who drank more than three-and-a-half servings of alcohol per day and who had memory and thinking problems were ruled out before the study started.
Participants also had brain scans to measure the size of their hippocampus.
Dr Clare Walton, research communications manager for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘We already know that type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, but this new study suggests that higher blood sugar levels may also be linked to poor memory in people without diabetes.
‘The research suggests that regulating blood sugar levels might be a way to improve people’s memory, even if they don’t have diabetes.
‘However, before people without diabetes consider changing their diets or taking medication, more research is needed to test this theory. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia so investing in research like this is vital.’