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"A spoonful of sugar...." (sugar may stimulate memory )

...helps the medicine go down," as Julie Andrews once sang. And it may also be just what you need to perk up that faulty memory. The journal Psychological Science recently reported an experiment at the University of Virginia in which 17 people, ages 62 through 84, were given memory, intelligence, and attention span tests after drinking a glass of lemonade following an overnight fast. Some of the lemonade was sweetened with sugar, and some with artificial sweetener. Verbal memory scores were 60 percent higher among those whose lemonade was laced with sugar.

Why sugar may stimulate memory is unclear, although in rat experiments, the brain's ability to utilize acetylcholine, which is involved in memory storage, seems to be enhanced by sugar. In our "diet drink, diet this, diet-that" culture in which we shun the sugar, we tend to overlook the fact that carbohydrates are essential to life. We can, however, get sugar from the fruits, vegetables and grains that contain the so-called complex carbohydrates, which the body then breaks down into simple sugars.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:May 1, 1991
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