The Worst Food for Your Brain? Plus It May Increase Diabetes Risk, Belly Fat & More… And Some Tips to Reduce Its Impact on You!

It’s a good bet 100% of people want to do what they can to protect their memory and their overall health. But some of the foods you — and nearly everyone else —  are eating, harm your brain in terms of memory issues, and also in its ability to learn.   That was the conclusion of a UCLA study published in the Journal of  Physiology that found a diet high in this substance over time can lead to impaired memory and impaired ability to learn.

But that's not the end of it.  It can also cause insulin resistance over time, which may increase your risk of Type-2 Diabetes and extra body fat.  It also has a harmful effect on triglyceride levels in your blood as well as small dense LDL particles that may cause plaque in your arteries. Yes, put it all together, and high fructose can lead to impaired memory, impaired ability to learn, increased risk of heart disease, and extra belly fat.  And we’d venture to guess likely much more not included in this study. The average person eating a typical modern western diet generally consumes high levels of fructose without even knowing it...from all the soft drinks, sweetened juices, orange juice, processed junk foods — think cakes, candies, other baked goods and pastries —  and store-bought salad dressings, breads, cereals and even condiments like ketchup.  Note especially that “sports drinks” which are often marketed as “healthy” may have large amounts of corn syrup or even crystalline fructose as their main sweetening agents. Such “sports drinks” can be just as bad as soda for your body and brain. And another “surprise” for people is that agave syrup (agave nectar) which is also marketed as a “healthy sweetener” is actually one of the sweeteners with the most concentrated forms of processed fructose. 
You can avoid such fructose-heavy foods and drinks by making your own at home, of course.  That is if you make salad dressings with olive oil and vinegar with added spices, or choose to drink unsweetened iced tea with lemon instead of sweetened drinks or juices.  Ketchup contains more fructose than mustard or hot sauce do, so if you use a lot of ketchup you might try reducing the amount by mixing it with  mustard and/or hot sauce.  

Note re: fructose in natural whole fruits. Yes, they do contain fructose. However, it’s generally much less than the amount in sweetened drinks, or sweetened junk foods.  And, probably most importantly, natural fruits also contain phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber that counteracts any negative effects of the fructose in them. You may want to consider limiting the amount of fruit you eat in a day due to the sugar and fructose content of them, but the fructose in them is at least countered by the other helpful ingredients mentioned that they contain.

Lemon and Lime may be an additional help in the battle against fructose…. They contain virtually no fructose, and only 3 to 4 grams of total carbs in a whole lemon or lime.  A lot of people squeeze lemons and/or limes into water or tea for a healthy flavored drink.  

Fresh lemon juice has even been shown to help control blood sugar response from a meal — another bonus. Lemons are best known for their vitamin C content, but their fiber and acidity also slow digestion, causing a steadier rise in blood sugar levels. Sprinkle lemon juice on white rice to lower the GI of the rice, or drink lemon water with your meal. It’s been reported that one to two tablespoons of lemon juice may reduce the impact of a meal on your blood sugar by as much as 30 percent .
Lemons are on the American Diabetes Association’s superfood list because of their soluble fiber content. Fiber is a carbohydrate, but your body can’t break it down so it does not impact your blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber in particular stabilizes blood sugar by slowing the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.  Some suggested uses we found were to add lemon slices to water to sip on throughout the day, or add fresh lemon juice to hot and cold unsweetened teas. Splash lemon onto rice dishes, onto pasta with fresh vegetables or as a seasoning for poultry and fish. It’s said best to use fully ripe, heavy, thin-skinned lemons, because they have more minerals than thick-skinned lemons. Lemons can be kept at room temperature away from sunlight for up to a week and then should be kept in your crisper drawer. 

We hope you find this information helpful!

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