Posted on Oct 19, 2020, 7 p.m.
According to research from the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, sugar intake may play a significant role in mental health disorders and even aggressive behaviour.
Mental health disorders can have damaging effects on all aspects of life, as scientists are investigating the causes of ADHD and bipolar disorder a new catalyst appears to be emerging; according to a recent study fructose and uric acid increases the risk of developing various behavioural conditions.
“We present evidence that fructose, by lowering energy in cells, triggers a foraging response similar to what occurs in starvation,” says lead author Richard Johnson.
The team explains that foraging responses cause humans to act impulsively, and this survival instinct can also trigger more risk-taking, rapid decision making, and aggressiveness. While genetically this response helped our ancestors to secure food, today, the explosion of additives and sugary foods/beverages to the typical Western diet may be keeping this emergency reflex around needlessly.
“While the fructose pathway was meant to aid survival, fructose intake has skyrocketed during the last century and may be in overdrive due to the high amounts of sugar that are in the current Western diet,” Johnson adds.
Findings of the report published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior examining how refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup may be linked to behavioural issues and obesity and Western diets suggest that components of sugar and high fructose corn syrup can trick the body into thinking that it is starving, thereby changing a person’s mental state as well.
“We do not blame aggressive behavior on sugar, but rather note that it may be one contributor,” Johnson explains. “The identification of fructose as a risk factor does not negate the importance of genetic, familial, physical, emotional and environmental factors that shape mental health.”
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.