Is it time to ditch sugar?
It’s no secret that sugar can wreak havoc on your body if you’re indulging in a little too much of the sweet stuff. Still, 75 percent of Americans are eating too much of it.
The harmful effects it can have on your physical health are well-studied, which is why we talk so much about reducing sugar to lose weight and lower the risk of disease.
While ditching the sweet stuff can result in a physically healthier you, it’s the impact sugar has on our mental health that’s worth taking a second look at.
If your idea of coping with stress involves a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, there’s a good chance you know exactly what a sugar rush is.
While most people can get through a rush and subsequent crash with minimal discomfort, there’s an entire group of people who pay a big price for eating too much sugar.
That’s because consuming a large amount of processed sugar can trigger feelings of worry, irritability, and sadness — which can be a double whammy if you also deal with depression or anxiety.
But why does sugar cause such a problem?
After eating too much sugar, your body releases insulin to help absorb the excess glucose in the bloodstream and stabilize blood sugar levels. That’s a good thing, right? Not necessarily.
Here’s why: A sugar rush makes your body work hard to get back to normal levels.
This roller coaster of ups and downs can leave you feeling nervous, foggy, irritable, jittery, and drained.
If you have anxiety or depression, those symptoms are likely ones you already deal with on a daily basis. Sugar will exacerbate them.
If you deal with anxiety, then you know how disastrous it can be to binge on sugar.
The powerful high and subsequent crash can make you feel irritable, shaky, and tense — all side effects that can worsen your anxiety.
But that’s not all. Sugar can also weaken your body’s ability to respond to stress, which can trigger your anxiety and prevent you from dealing with the cause of the stress.
There’ve been a few studies that have looked at the connection between sugar and anxiety, but they were both done on rats. While the findings did show a definite link between sugar intake and anxiety, researchers would like to see more studies done on humans.