Fructose—the sugars in fruit—could be driving Alzheimer’s disease.
The sugars—which are also produced when we eat high-fat, sugary and salty processed foods—reduce blood flow to the brain and increase inflammation, a process that can lead to Alzheimer’s, say scientists at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
An abundance of fructose creates tau and amyloid beta proteins, the same build-up that’s seen in Alzheimer’s patients. High fructose levels have also been seen in patients’ brains.
It’s all to do with evolution and our ancient brain that still has foraging instincts, the scientists suggest. When we had to scavenge for food, fructose played an important role by shutting down areas of the brain that were a distraction to the hunter-gatherer.
But in our age of relative abundance, fructose is always in our system, and this causes our brain to shrink, or atrophy.