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Why is Sugar Bad for Depression and Anxiety

Depression and Anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues in our society. Depression and Anxiety are two different conditions, but they often occur together. They also have similar treatments.So it is beneficial to learn about both conditions.
There are some common signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety:
  • Constant, worry
  • Irrational fear
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heartbeat, headaches, hot flashes, sweating, abdominal pain, and difficulty in breathing
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Difficulty in concentrating, memory problems and decision making
  • Feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and empty feelings
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

Link Between Sugar, Depression and Anxiety:

Our modern diet is severely overloaded in unhealthy sugars and fats.
In a book The Ultramind Solution,  Mark Hyman, MD writes:
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.”

When you suffer from anxiety attacks, you tend to become hypersensitive to your body. You fear your anxiety attacks, and you notice every single time you feel tired, lightheaded, sick, etc.Sugar itself doesn't necessarily cause any of these anxiety sensations. But sugar does stimulate various sensations in your body.

In sugar includes sucrose, fructose, raw sugar ( sugar  + dirt ) , brown sugar (sugar, dyed brown), corn syrup, glucose etc., molasses, malt, malted barley, even maple syrup and honey. Fructose is a type of sugar found naturally in some fruits and vegetables, but it isn’t digested the same way glucose is digested. Fructose and glucose are both simple sugars, but glucose is the body’s preferred energy source. At the same time, fructose causes insulin to be released and stimulates the hunger hormone leptin and actually acts more like fat in the body. Fructose’s influence on teens goes beyond the stomach, and now that researchers know its potential harm to their growing brains, diet therapies may be a way to curb stress and anxiety. Sugar and other sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses and maple syrup, may contribute to a number of mental health problems like depression and anxiety:

Chronic inflammation:

Sugar is inflammatory. This inflammation also occurs in the brain. Depression and mental health issues are linked to brain inflammation.So consuming too many amounts of sugar can truly set off an plenty of negative health events both mental and physical.It is a proven fact that sugar increases your insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging, and many more negative side effects.Sugar can also cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, which leads to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression and difficulty concentrating.

Sugar Craving:

Sugar can lead to cravings and be a major contributor to anxiety disorders and mood disorders like depression.The more sugar we consume, the more sugar we crave. We build a tolerance to sugar and require more and more to satisfy the pleasure center in the brain.Knowing that sugar contributes to anxiety and depression won’t stop you from craving sugar. Brain doesn’t “care” where the glucose comes from, its may be healthy or unhealthy sources as long as it gets enough.

Sugar Addiction:

Sugar addiction is not yet recognized as a psychological disorder by the American Psychiatric Association or the World Health Organization.But the latest researches shows that sugar addiction is real.There are four major components of addiction: bingeing, withdrawal, craving, and cross-sensitisation (the notion that one addictive substance predisposes someone to becoming addicted to another).

Decrease Vitamin B:

Carbohydrates and sugar metabolism depletes vitamins B.vitamins B (B6,B12,Folic acid) are essential for mood stability and regulation.

Excretion of Chromium:

Chromium is an essential trace mineral needed by the body in small amounts for healthy body functioning. Chromium plays an important role in helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels so you'll feel less driven to feed your sugar addiction.One study revealed that eating a diet containing 35% sugar leads to a 10% increase in chromium excretion. In fact it turns out that just supplying proper levels of chromium to people with a typical depression can make a big difference.Blood sugar control and brain health are all known benefits of chromium.

Release of Serotonin:

Serotonin act as a neurotransmitter. There is also a carbohydrate/protein signal for serotonin.Serotonin is made in the body and brain from an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is then converted into another amino acid called 5-Hydroxy Tryptophan (5-HTP), which in turn is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Just not getting enough tryptophan is likely to make you depressed; people fed food deficient in tryptophan became rapidly depressed within hours.Signs and symptoms of serotonin deficiency are low-self esteem, insomnia, phobias, panic attacks, eating disorders, depression, anger, anxiety, shy, and obsessive behaviors as well as cravings for sweets and chocolates, cravings for sweets at night, and binge eating.

Suppressed Activity of Hormones:

Sugar suppresses the activity of a hormone called BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that is low in individuals with depression and schizophrenia. This hormone promotes the health and maintenance of neurons in the brain. It plays a vital role in memory function, by triggering the growth of new connections between neurons. so high sugar intake suppresses activity of a brain health promoting hormone and also have a high rate of depression and anxiety.

There are some ways to reduce sugar craving and control on anxiety and depression. Choosing a  best foods to boost brain health, it can improve your mental health and reduced the chances of depression and anxiety. Try to eat foods that release energy slowly to keep your blood sugar levels steady for longer.


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