Children who overload on sugar are at a greater risk of becoming cognitively impaired and obese, a new study has found. The study supports the World Health Organisation's call for a reduction in sugar intake.
Researchers from Queensland University of Technology discovered that kids who have too much sugar are more likely to be overweight, hyperactive, and cognitively impaired later in life.
The study, conducted on mice, found that sugar consumption over a 12-week period "significantly boosts" weight gain, and elicits an "abnormal and excessive" stimulation of the nervous system.
It also negatively impacts memory, which is one of the symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.
Mice were given daily doses of sucrose, and researchers found that they suffered from weight gain and other health problems at the end of the three-month study.
Lead author Professor Selena Bartlett said many children and teenagers have a diet containing more than 100g of sugar a day, four times the 25g limit recommended by the World Health Organisation.
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"Human trials would need to be done but it suggests a link to the long-term overconsumption of sugar, beginning at a young age, which occurs more commonly in the Western Diet and an increased risk of developing persistent hyperactivity and neurocognitive deficits in adulthood," she explained.
"Our results show for the first time that long-term consumption of sucrose leads to significant weight gain and produces persistent hyperactivity and learning impairments."
She said that over-eating can impact on our ability to regulate, and "unrestricted consumption of high-sugar food and beverages within the Western Diet might be linked to the increased obesity epidemic."