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High Fat High Sugar Diets Aren’t Just Making You Fat

New research from Oregon State University states that America’s fat and sugar loaded diet is not only hurting the health of Americans, but is also affecting their ability to think clearly. Apparently, researchers have found that a high sugar, high fat diet causes a change in stomach bacteria that can lead to a loss in cognitive flexibility which is a measurement of the brain’s ability to switch between thinking about one concept to another and adapting to changes in environment. So essentially, fat and sugar filled diets are not good for you because they alter bacteria in your stomach, and in your body in general, that has an overall effect on how you feel and how you are able to live your life. And unfortunately, this is not a positive effect.

For the experiment, researchers fed one group of mice a high fat and high sugar diet, while another group received a normal diet. Then, tests were conducted to determine their physical and mental functions according to changes that would relate to changes in the stomach’s microbiome which is made up of trillions of bacteria. According to the tests, mice on the high fat and high sugar diets performed worse than those on the normal diet in the physical and mental testing after only four weeks on the diets.

This is not the first body of research that warns of the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption on brain health. In fact, mountain evidence is what is making some scientists refer to Alzheimer’s disease as “Type 3 Diabetes” because of the association of elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, coupled with the cognitive decline.

Why is sugar affecting us so much? Or better yet, how? Well, scientists are not sure. They think that the effect sugar has on the bacteria in your stomach can affect your brain, and it is most likely because the bacteria in your stomach does communicate with your brain through different things, including activating inflammatory responses in your immune system.

So how can we avoid sugar? Sweeteners? Well no. Because researchers also think that the chemicals in artificial sweeteners can often have a worse effect on the bacteria in your stomach, and frankly, they are so gross with how bad they are for you.

Scientists are now saying that a brain-healthy diet is one that is low in sugar and welcomes good healthy fats back to into the equation. In fact, scientists and environmentalists seem to occasionally be leading to the idea of plant based diets being the best ways to eat.

And to be honest, I think that with the growing amount of research and the way the world is going, I think that plant based diets will be the very important in the near future. Nutritionally, they naturally reduce saturated fats in your diet, it increases your intake of antioxidants, potassium, folate and you will actually eat a healthy amount of protein that is able to be broken down from beans, nuts, peas, lentils and other products. Health wise, plant based diets are also known to reduce arthritis symptoms, breast cancer, colon cancer, various eye diseases and osteoporosis. However, probably the most significant thing about plant based diets is the way in which it allows for a lower body mass index, and leads to a healthier weight and reduction in body fat that you do not need.

As someone who has been looking more into vegan diets as a result of not being able to eat anything, I have learned more and more about the benefits of plant based diets and I really do think that it is the best way to eat. Frankly, the American diet typically has way too much animal protein, way too much cow’s milk, eggs, mercury and sugar which all, in the excesses that we typically have them in, are horrible for your overall health. Additionally, plant based diets mean a reduction in animals being killed, it is much easier on the environment and it allows for the global food supply to be better regulated.

Along with all of this, everyone loves pets, and almost everyone has a pet in North America, if not more than one. But growing research is showing how much of a strain owning dogs and cats can be on the environment. They are methane producing meat eaters after all. So as someone who has become a lot more concerned about the environment and global food supply in recent years, I love my pets, and so for them, I will often make the choice to eat a diet that is about 90% plant based so as to help alleviate the environmental pressures that my pets have. Although not everyone has to do that, it is something to think about, along with the proven health benefits of a plant based diet.

About Emily Hersey

Emily Hersey
Emily is an African Studies and History student who loves reading, the gym, hip hop and horses. If she's not working on her latest research project, she's definitely working towards her next trip to South Africa and doing her Master's degree there. Contact Emily: emily.hersey@youthindependent.com