Could excessive sugar intake contribute to aggressive behaviors, ADHD and bipolar disorder?
New research suggests that conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and even aggressive behaviors may be linked to sugar intake and may have an evolutionary basis.
The research, launched late last year at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and published in Evolution and Human Behavior, presents a hypothesis that claims fructose, a component of high-fructose sugar and corn syrup, and uric acid (a metabolite of fructose), would play a role in increasing the risk for these behavioral disorders.
“We present evidence that fructose, by lowering energy in cells, triggers a feeding response similar to what happens during famine,” said lead author Dr. Richard Johnson, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine at Anschutz Medical Campus. WITH.
Johnson points out research shows that a feeding response stimulates risk-taking, impulsivity, novelty-seeking, quick decision-making, and aggression to help provide food as a survival response. Overactivation of this process due to excessive sugar intake can cause impulsive behavior, which could range from ADHD, to bipolar disorder or even aggression.
“While fructose was meant to help survive, fructose intake has increased over the last century and may be in excess due to the large amounts of sugar in the current Western diet,” adds Johnson.
The paper examines how the excessive intake of fructose present in refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup may play an important role in the pathogenesis of behavioral disorders that are associated with obesity and the Western diet.
Johnson notes, “We don’t blame sugar for aggressive behavior, but rather that it may be one of the contributing factors.”
“Identifying fructose as a risk factor does not negate the importance of genetic, family, physical, emotional, and environmental factors that shape mental health,” adds Dr. Richard Johnson.
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