The sugar you eat can distract your mind and leave you unfocused during the day. Here is how you can regulate.

Sugar intake can impact serotonin level in your body, which in turn can affect your focus. To stay in peak cognitive shape, maintain a stable sugar level throughout the day and feed them gradually to your brain.

Apple salad for lunch or afternoon snack

First – the neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are chemicals that communicate information in our brain and body. They are what your brain uses to tell your body what to do and feel.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for modulating your emotion.  The level of serotonin in your body can affect whether you feel energetic, lethargic, upbeat, or irritable.

Sugar intake can impact serotonin level in your body, which in turn can affect your mood.  Here is a simple version of how it works: sugar intake triggers production of insulin, a hormone that picks up sugar molecules and delivers them out of your blood and into your cells (for energy or storage).  When insulin is released in very high dose (in reaction to a large and sudden consumption of sugar), it can also lead to a spike in serotonin production. 

Symptoms of unusually high serotonin level can include nervousness, confusion, excitability and lack of willpower.  For a normal healthy person on a normal day, these symptoms are likely to go unnoticed, but under stressful conditions (e.g. big presentation, hectic business travel schedule) the chemical swings in your body following sudden high sugar intake can be enough to make your day far less productive.

To stay in peak cognitive shape, maintain a stable sugar level throughout the day and feed them gradually to your brain.  We recommend, beans, apples, peaches, whole grain cereal or bread.  Eat natural carbs that come with built-in fiber.  Stay away from white-flour pancakes and maple syrup. Eat small snacks throughout the day.

 

Following papers provide information on how insulin spike can lead to serotonin overproduction:

  • Fernandez AM, Torres-Alemán I. The many faces of insulin-like peptide signalling in the brain. Nat Rev Neurosci 2012;13:225–239
  • Brüning JC, Gautam D, Burks DJ, et al. Role of brain insulin receptor in control of body weight and reproduction. Science