Most people are aware that consuming too much sugar is bad for their physical health. This doesn’t stop people from eating or drinking it, though, because they don’t feel any immediate negative physical impacts. However, the biggest silent danger of sugar intake is often the effect it can have on your mental health. While a lot of focus and attention has been placed on mental health in recent years, what many people aren’t aware of is that things like depression, anxiety symptoms, and cognitive decline can all be side effects of sugar intake. We’ve taken a look at some of the ways that a sugar-free diet can benefit your mental health.
Too Much Sugar Can Lead to Depression
Consuming large amounts of sugar in one sitting can lead to high blood sugar and then the resulting crash that follows. Your mood could swing temporarily during this time, but will then likely stabilize when blood sugar levels do the same. However, long-term excessive sugar intake like this can increase an individual’s chances of experiencing depression. Sugar can suppress our brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) hormone, which is often very low in people experiencing schizophrenia and depression. Sugar intake is linked directly to the development of chronic inflammation, which is also a factor that leads to depression. If you or a loved one are experiencing mood swings that could be seen as depression, consider switching to a sugar-free diet to slow down the development of the condition.
Sugar Can Worsen Symptoms of Anxiety
There is no evidence that sugar causes anxiety. However, it is believed to make the symptoms of anxiety worsen. People might also struggle to deal with the stress they experience in their daily lives. Too much sugar consumption every day over a long period can cause fatigue, blurred vision, and even an increased number of more panic attacks. Switching to a sugar-free diet might not eliminate your anxiety, but it could make the symptoms less serious.
Prolonged High Sugar Intake Can Cause Cognitive Decline
Chronic inflammation, stress, and depression all contribute to cognitive decline in individuals. Experiencing high levels of stress and depression can increase chronic inflammation, which can expedite cognitive decline. So while sugar intake doesn’t directly lead to cognitive decline, studies show that sugar can be the trigger for depression and anxiety symptoms and even cause cognitive decline over time. Managing sugar intake is critical to keep the potential for cognitive decline development lower.
Adopt A Low Sugar Diet for Physical and Mental Benefits
If you’ve ever wondered, “what does sugar do to your body?” the answer is it does much more than you think. Sugar is something people reach for when they are experiencing stress or depression and need something to comfort them. The problem is consuming sugary foods or drinks can increase those symptoms and harm your mental health even more. Adopting a low sugar diet might not relieve you of all these symptoms, but it can help slow the development.
It’s important to take care of your mental health. The problem is that many people don’t know exactly what that means or what actions they should or shouldn’t take. Since there are clear connections between sugar intake and decreased mental health, start by switching to a sugar-free diet. Not only could you experience less severe symptoms of depression or anxiety, but you could feel better physically as well. And when you have more energy, you’ll be more energized to exercise and experience additional mental health benefits too.