How Sugar Might Be Affecting Your Mental Health
The dark side of happy treats.
As rewarding as the taste of sugar is, it brings with it an array of health issues, and affects your brain in a manner you're probably not aware of. Funny thing, some people tend to crave sugar when they're stressed, meanwhile, sugar aggravates anxiety; this goes into a loop. Who doesn't want to curl up with a tub of ice-cream on a rough day? Trust me, I've been there.
Sugar can be addictive because it activates the reward centers of our brains, and resorting to desserts may become a frequently used coping mechanism, which is not only bad for your waist but also your mental health.
Does Sugar Contribute to Anxiety and Depression?
There is a considerable amount of research done to testify that while sugar doesn't cause any mental illnesses, it sure can act as a contributing factor to depression and anxiety. The "crash" that one might experience after consumption of a generous amount of sugar is due to a sudden spike in the blood sugar level which drops down quickly. Consequently, one might feel more anxious, irritable, depressed or experience mood swings and throw tantrums. Especially, if you're someone who undergoes anxiety attacks, an excess of sugar may worsen the shaking and tension.
Sugar restrains the activity of a growth hormone in the brain known as BDNF, which is responsible for the maintenance of neurons and plays an essential role in memory function. BDNF levels are found to be severely low in patients suffering from depression and schizophrenia. Conversely, low BDNF levels might also trigger depression. Also, high blood sugar levels might cause neuroinflammation in the brain, which has been suggested as a cause for depression.
Does Sugar Affect Learning and Memory?
Sugar does impact our cognitive skills by impairing the communication amongst brain cells. An array of studies have concluded that sugar tends to slow down the brain, resist strengthening of synaptic connections of the brain due to insulin resistance, and damage memory formation. In fact, some studies suggest that a high-sugar diet may eventually result in the development of Alzeihmers.
Refined sugar isn't well received by our body. Ideally, a female should consume 6 tsp of sugar while a male should consume 9 tsp per day. To put this into perspective, a small banana contains 3 tsp while a soda can contains 8.5 tsp of sugarThe repercussions of excessive sugar seem to outweigh the transient pleasure it generates. A sweet treat now and then does no harm but dependence on sugar to make you happy is a decision you'll probably regret in the long term.Time to cut down on refined sugar and make healthier choices for your body.