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Sugar improves memory and mood in those over 60

July 30, 2018
Sugar improves memory and mood in those over 60
Ana Rodríguez

A small dose of sugar can improve memory in people over 60, motivate them to work harder, and put them in a good mood when they perform difficult tasks, according to research from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom).

Konstantinos Mantantzis

Konstantinos Mantantzis, lead author. Photo: University of Warwick

Directed by Ph.D. student Konstantinos Mantantzis, Professor Elizabeth Maylor, and Dr. Friederike Schlaghecken of the Department of Psychology, the study concludes that short-term energy in the form of elevated blood sugar levels could be an important factor in the motivation of the elderly to perform a task at its maximum capacity.

To carry out the experiment, young (aged 18-27) and older (aged 65-82) participants were offered a drink containing a small amount of glucose and were made to perform various memory tasks. Other participants were given a placebo, a drink with an artificial sweetener.

The researchers found that increasing energy through a drink with glucose can help both young and old to work harder compared to those who had the artificial sweetener. However, for young people, glucose did not improve their mood or memory performance. Meanwhile, the elderly did show a significantly better memory and a more positive mood.