Yes, despite the bad press about eating sweets and carbohydrates, the brain needs sugar! Yet when I googled the words “sugar” and “brain” recently, the entire first page (of 83,000,000 hits) showed articles on the negative effects of sugar on the brain. Yes, spikes and dips in blood sugar can affect our energy, but sugar in the broad sense of the word is essential to brain function.
I think many of us have been swept up by what’s trending in weight-loss diets or prescriptive eating and have forgotten what we learned about brain physiology.
Why the Brain Needs Sugar
* The brain depends upon glucose as its main source of energy.
* The brain manufactures glucose from carbohydrates and protein.
* The brain is poor at metabolizing fat. (Although we need to eat fat to get our omega-3 fatty acids and to metabolize the fat-soluble vitamins of A, D, K, and E, the brain doesn’t use it directly.)
* The brain needs a regular stream of glucose or it will die.
In my opinion, sugar and carbohydrates in general have gotten a bad rap in the health-conscious community. For thousands of years our ancestors have eaten all sorts of carbohydrates – fruits and vegetables and grains and dairy and honey – and have done quite well.
In the Bible, an incident involving honey occurred after King Saul had commanded his people to fast during a battle. When his son Jonathan, who was unaware of the command, came upon a honeycomb in the forest, dipped his staff into it, and ate some honey, his energy was renewed. Jonathan said to the people,
“See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey.” 1 Samuel 14:29
I say, let’s enjoy the sweets of the season! Have a slice of pie or fruit cake, savor the homemade fudge or boxed chocolates, and munch on Christmas cookies. Or, make some yeast rolls or fancy braided bread. (Note: We may also need to include protein to minimize blood sugar imbalance.)
A couple of years ago, my daughter and her girls made a Beehive Bread for us that tastes as delectable as it looks!
Don’t forget that our brain needs sugar.
Posted on December 22, 2015