Most of us know that we need to cut down on sugar – doing so can lower our blood pressure, decrease our risk of heart attack and make us less likely to develop dementia.  Sugar is vital for our brain health – which is the biggest guzzler of the sweet stuff in our body.


It’s all about where you get your sugar from.

Fructose – the sugar found in many artificial, processed foods – isn’t much use to your body. But natural sugars – those found in honey, maple syrup and fruit, for example – can help boost our brain health.

Even so, it’s best to eat whole fruit than juice. This is because the latter causes a much larger spike in insulin, which in turn leads to your body going into fat storage mode.

It’s also worthy to note that, of the 400 calories our brain needs, only about a quarter of it should come from our daily sugar intake – NHS guidelines recommend adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, which is roughly seven sugar cubes.

The rest should come from carbohydrates, which yes, are also important.

When thinking about fueling our brain with sugar, we need to know how much sugar there is in everything. A medium-sized banana, for example, contains around 14g of naturally-occurring sugar, and even kale’s main molecule is sugar.

But Bananas and Kale are foods with low glycaemic indexes, so release energy slowly and won’t spike your insulin levels.


It’s also worth noting that your brain can run on ketones too, which you make from the stored energy in fat during times of fasting or eating less than 60 grams of carbs per day.

As with carbs and fat, it’s important not to completely demonize any one food group – a little bit of sugar, if it’s the right kind, can help your brain perform to its best ability.

Sugar takes the place of important nutrients, increases stress and can cause gum disease, which can lead to heart disease.

You can leave some sugar in your diet, as long as it’s the right kind!


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