After countless studies indicating how healthful coffee is, now comes a study showing that coffee and sugar, when combined, help make the brain work more efficiently. Coffee coupled with sugar won’t make you smarter, just make what you have work better.
A team of researchers at the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, found that caffeine and sugar work together to help certain brain areas work more efficiently and support attention and memory.
In the study, 40 college-aged men and women were tested to determine how the area of the brain responsible for attention and memory responded when the participants consumed either a glass of water, water with sugar, water with caffeine, or water with caffeine and sugar. The participants were presented with a series of numbers in rapid succession to test their short term memory. Through scans, the researchers found that for those students consuming water with caffeine and sugar, the areas of the brain responsible for sustained attention and memory were not as intensely activated as the same areas of the in the brains of students in the other treatment groups. In other words, the brains were more efficient completing the tasks when caffeine and sugar were consumed.
“Our main finding is that the combination of the two substances improves cognitive performance in terms of sustained attention and working memory by increasing the efficiency of the areas of the brain responsible for these two functions,” said Josef M. Serra-Grabulosa, a professor in the department of psychiatry and clinical psychology at the University of Barcelona.
That’s the good news. The bad aspect of sugar is not “news”. Too much sugar can play havoc with weight and hormones. Refined sugar provides empty calories. When sugar isn’t needed in your body, it’s stored as fat, and by eating sugar, you’re raising the hormone insulin in your blood. Insulin stores fat, a risk factor in diabetes, and can damage artery walls, making it easier for cholesterol to build and perhaps cause heart disease.
So why do people put sugar in their coffee? It’s either because they like something sweet, or they want to cut the bitterness in coffee…or both. For the latter – cutting the bitterness — try the Arabica species of coffee as opposed to Robusta. Better yet, find a coffee that is not bitter such as HealthWise Low Acid 100% Colombian. The choice would be between making your brain more efficient for short periods of time, or reducing fat, calories and cholesterol!