We all know that increased sugar consumption is bad for our health, it can cause obesity and also can contribute towards the onset of type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies, though, have shown that eating and drinking too much sugar as well as processed food, can have a great impact on our mental health too, our moods and quality of life. These foods include sweeteners, honey, maple syrup, molasses, high fructose corn syrup and sugar additives.
Anxiety. Sugar can cause high levels of anxiety and impair the body’s ability to cope with stress. It can also cause blurry vision, fatigue, difficulties in concentration and thinking, leading to more anxiety and consequently extra worries and fear.’ In a 2008 study, rats that binged on sugar and then fasted displayed anxiety, and in a 2009 study rats fed sucrose compared to high-antioxidant honey were more likely to suffer anxiety. While dietary changes alone cannot cure anxiety, they can minimize symptoms, boost energy and improve the body’s ability to cope with stress.’ (PsychologyToday)
Depression. Studies indicate that heavy sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of depression and also worsen the symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia. Not surprisingly, countries with high sugar intake also have a much higher rate of depression. Another significant study found that ‘participants who drank more than four cans or glasses of diet soda or other artificially sweetened beverages had a nearly 30 percent higher risk of depression compared to those who did not consume diet drinks.’
WHY SUGAR CAN INCREASE DEPRESSION RISK
- Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health
- Sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) which promotes healthy brain neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which animal models suggest might actually be causative
- Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression
Memory, attention and learning. The University of Los Angeles conducted a study in which rats that ate a nutritious diet filled with omega-3 fatty acids found their way out of the maze faster than the ones who, for six weeks, consumed a fructose solution similar to soda and actually could not find their way out and forgot which way to go.‘The high sugar diet caused insulin resistance, which in turn damaged communications between brain cells that fuel learning and memory formation.’ (PsychologyToday)
Awareness on the subject is indeed needed to be raised across the globe and fast. Our bodies were never intended to handle too much daily sugar intake anyway and it is now becoming obvious that your waistline size will not be the only thing to motivate you towards a sugar detox.
Next time you reach for that chocolate cupcake again remember that too much sugar has a negative impact on your physical and mental health – use sugar externally instead and create this soothing homemade body scrub.
HOW THE BODY REACTS TO FRUCTOSE
- Although it is a simple sugar, glucose, rather than fructose is the body’s preferred energy source.
- Excess fructose in the body is turned into fat, which can lodge in the liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Fructose puts an extra load on the liver, which in turn, prompts a range of problems, including raised levels of fat in the bloodstream.
- The sugar can also lead to insulin resistance- where the body stops detecting insulin levels in the blood – and so produces even more insulin.
- Insulin resistance is one of the key feature of metabolic syndrome, which could lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
- High levels of insulin in the blood also blocks the action of ‘hunger hormone’ leptin, which tells the brain when fat cells have enough energy.
- So high levels of insulin lead to leptin resistance and therefore obesity. (DailyMail)