Refined sugar has become one of the most prolific ingredients in our food, and one of the most dangerous. Its constant consumption has been linked to many different health problems, all which have a negative effect on the brain.
Refined sugar consumption suppresses brain derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, a very important growth hormone for the brain. This factor triggers new connections between neurons in the brain that are vital for memory function. Studies have shown low BDNF levels in patients with depression and schizophrenia, and the consumption of sugar could exacerbate those conditions by further contributing to those low levels.
Refined sugar also increases inflammation, which can disrupt the digestive and immune systems. If this inflammation is chronic, it can lead to a higher risk of depression and schizophrenia. Dr. Ilardi, associate professor of psychology at University of Kansas, encourages depressed patients to remove refined sugar from their diets, and those who were willing to comply reported significant improvements in mental clarity and mood.