Nutrients (Aug 2022)

Parkinson’s Disease and Sugar Intake—Reasons for and Consequences of a Still Unclear Craving

  • Julienne Haas,
  • Daniela Berg,
  • Anja Bosy-Westphal,
  • Eva Schaeffer

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 3240
p. 3240


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Lately, studies have shown that patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) report a strong craving for sweets and consume significantly more fast-acting carbohydrates than healthy controls. Consuming food with a high-sugar content is assumed to lead to an increase in insulin concentration, which could positively influence dopamine concentration in the brain and unconsciously be used by patients as kind of “self-medication” to compensate for a lack of dopamine in PD. On the other hand, high-sugar intake could also lead to insulin resistance and diabetes, which is discussed as a causative factor for progressive neurodegeneration in PD. In this critical appraisal, we discuss the role of sugar intake and insulin on dopamine metabolism in patients with PD and how this could influence the potential neurodegeneration mediated by insulin resistance.