Sugar in coffee boosts brain

New research has shown that the pick-me-up that millions of people rely on to kick-start the day, has a much more potent effect if it is taken with sugar.

Scientists at the University of Barcelona in Spain found taking caffeine and sugar at the same time boosted the brain’s performance more than taking them on their own.

The findings come from brain scans carried out on 40 healthy volunteers who were tested after they had coffee with sugar, coffee without sugar, sugar on its own or just plain water (placebo). All volunteers were asked to perform a small test to check their attention span and memory.

The experiment shows that the parts in the brain responsible for memory and attention span benefit from the combination of caffeine and glucose.
Researchers said this shows the brain operates more efficiently when it has had a caffeine and sugar boost.

‘The two substances improve cognitive performance by increasing the efficiency of the two areas of the brain responsible for sustained attention and working memory,’ said researcher Dr Josep Serra Grabulosa.

‘The brain is more efficient under the combined effect of the two substances, since it needs fewer resources to produce the same level of performance than when volunteers took only caffeine, glucose or water.'

Read more: Spoonful of brain power: Drinking coffee with sugar boosts memory and attention span