Study: Sugary drinks may be shrinking your brain

(Flickr Commons/m01229)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — New research suggests that sugar may shrink your brain.

The study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia shows the more sugary drinks someone consumes the smaller their brain is. The people involved in the study who drank more drinks like soda and fruit juice also scored worse on memory tests.

24 Hour News 8 took a deeper look at the study and asked brain specialists in West Michigan about the findings.

Dr. Maegan Hatfield-Eldred, a clinical neuropsychologist at Spectrum Health, said that the study has to be looked at in-depth. She said that sugar does impact your brain, but doctors can’t conclude much more than that.

“We don’t know if there was another variable that maybe can explain the differences in brain size,” Hatfield-Eldred said.  “We don’t know if people with different brain sizes, for some reason, have different cravings for sugar. We don’t have the answers to those questions.”

Exercise and diet are both helpful in reducing risk of dementia or slowing its progression, Hatfield-Eldred said.

24 Hour News 8 also asked Kristi Veltkamp, a Registered Dietitian at Spectrum Health, for helpful tips for a brain-healthy diet.

You can find those suggestions here.