Sugar is always on the list of bad foods. It is not good for your waistline and glucose levels. It slows down metabolism; it causes tooth decay; it upsets your stomach, and now sugar triggers depression. According to a study conducted on the negative impacts of sugar, a clear link was observed between severe chronic depression and intake of sugar. People who were allergic to these white crystals displayed have higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Let us take a look at what happens when you intake sugar!
Sugar And Depression: The Connection
According to the study, people who indulge in a sugar-rich meal often experience sleepiness along with a dip in energy and mood. These people also showcase low insulin sensitivity. Body releases insulin as soon as it ingests sugar which then moves into the bloodstream. Since the brain does not have the potential to store glucose, it is burned by the body, a process that gets a boost when you are under extreme levels of stress.
And, this creates a situation where your brain cells require double the level of energy. When this happens, the blood sugar levels experience major changes. This is the time when your body releases an extra dose of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine, leading to an increased feeling of calm and happiness. But as the effect of these hormones fade away, your mood crashes, slowly leading to depression. And, that is when you reach out for more sugar, triggering a vicious cycle.
According to a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, it was found that people underwent treatment for depression along with Type II diabetes showcased better improvement. And, the study suggests that exclusion of sugar could probably be one of the major triggers for this positive change.
Yet another study was conducted at the Princeton University. According to the study, sugar triggers the release of dopamine akin to addictive drugs, leading to a psychological addiction. Cutting down the sugar levels could lead to withdrawal as there was a dip in the levels of dopamine released. The study was conducted on rats and brain scan on these animals revealed that sugar and cocaine cause addictions in a similar way.
It is not just restricted to the intake of desserts and carbohydrates. People who consume sweetened beverages are susceptible to depression. According to the study people who consumed at least four cans of aerated drinks a day had 30% increased risk of developing depression as against non-consumers. Fruit punch drinkers have 38% higher chances of developing this condition.
In yet another study that appeared in the British Journal of Psychiatry, it was noted that people who ate a diet packed with processed foods have 58% more chances of being depressed.
According to Mark Hyman, MD, the author of The Ultramind Solution, “There is no scientific controversy here. The evidence is in. Sugar causes inflammation. The insulin-resistant fat cells you pack on when you eat too much sugar produces nasty inflammatory messages (cytokines) … spreading their damage to the brain. In fact, researchers have suggested calling depression “metabolic syndrome Type II” because instead of just having a fat swollen belly, you also get a fat swollen (and depressed) brain. And psychiatrists are starting to treat depression and psychiatric disorders with anti-diabetic drugs like Actos! These drugs lower blood sugar, lower insulin, and reduce inflammation.”
What Should Be Done?
We all love sugar and sweets and so eliminating it completely from our diet might not be a good idea. Instead you could try some of the tips mentioned below to help you out.
Restrict Your Sugar Intake
A maximum of 6 teaspoons – that is what you should aim for. Ideally, it translates into 5% of your net calorie intake.
Bingeing, while in front of the computer or reading or watching television, is one of the most popular ways we consume sugar. So, stop that mindless eating.
Sweets Are Treats
Keep them for occasions. This is one of the best ways you could restrict the sugar consumption.
Mindfully Use Sugar
You might be adding just one teaspoon of sugar to your coffee, but what about those cereals and biscuits that you ate? So, exercise a little mindfulness.
Use sugar judiciously and stay safe!