Executive function is an umbrella term that includes cognitive related skills for complex reasoning, goal-orientated activity, and self-regulatory behavior. Many high-order executive skills develop significantly during childhood, specifically from ages 6 to 10 years old. Meaning, high sugar-sweetened beverage consumption could potentially be dangerous to children during a critical time of development.
Researchers had over 6,000 children in their study. Around two-thirds of the participants reported consuming high sugar-sweetened beverages. The study assessed their executive function abilities via a specialized test, and researchers found that children with high consumption typically demonstrated poorer executive function compared to those with low consumption.
Learn more about the study below:
“The biological mechanism underlying the relationship between SSB (sugar-sweetened beverage) consumption and executive function are yet to be established. Increases in inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as decreases in neurotrophins, are the most plausible pathways proposed by previous studies. Specifically, evidence from an animal study demonstrated that rats fed with sucrose-fructose drinks had increased mediators of inflammation in the dorsal hippocampus including IL-6 and IL-1β. Rats exposed to a fructose-sweetened solution also displayed an increased level of oxidative stress and advanced glycation end products as well as decreased antioxidant enzymes in the frontal cortex
… the findings of this study found that SSB consumption was associated with poorer performance on executive function among children. Because excessive consumption of SSB is fairly common in many countries, the findings hold importance for informing policy makers to implement intervention strategies on reducing children’s access to SSB for promoting brain health.”
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