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How Sugar Affects Your Anxiety

Sugar has long been known to cause several health issues. These range from minor issues to major chronic disease. Reducing your intake of the sweet stuff can help improve your physical health. But did you know it can also have a big effect on your mental health?

You may turn to a candy bar or sugary treat for an energy pick-me-up, but recent research advises against that. It indicates that sugary foods have no positive effect on your mood. Actually, sugar may ultimately have the opposite effect in the long term. A 2017 study showed that a high sugar diet can increase the chances of recurrent mood disorders in men and women and incident mood disorders in men.

Sometimes when we’re stressed, we cope with a sugar treat like ice cream. But sugary foods can actually reduce your ability to respond to stress. Sugar suppresses the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis in your brain, which can help you feel less frazzled. The temporary relief this provides can make you more dependent on sugar. That raises your risk of obesity and related diseases.

Sugar is also linked to an increased risk for depression. Multiple studies point to a correlation between high sugar diets and depression. When we consume too much sugar, it triggers an imbalance in brain chemicals. This can lead to depression and even potentially increase the long-term risk of mental health disorders.

Overall it’s a good idea to protect your mental health by reducing your sugar intake. But that doesn’t mean you have to live a life without sweets. Ditch the processed sugar in favor of more naturally sweet whole foods like sweet potatoes, fruit and smoothies.

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