By Jasmine Browley, BlackDoctor.org
It’s not a new revelation that sugar is bad for our health. High sugar intake leads to high BMI, obesity, a decline in oral hygiene, and diabetes. However, what’s not often discussed is the significant impact of a high sugar diet on mental health.
There is conclusive research on the negative impact it can have on mood, comprehension, and the way people view life. More importantly, research shows that a diet filled with too many sweet-based foods can have a negative impact on mental well-being.
Here we’ve listed 3 ways a high sugar diet can affect mental health, along with some ideas to help make changes now!
- Depression & Schizophrenia
The rapid fluctuation of blood sugar can exacerbate mood disorders. Researchers have found that high sugar can lead to an increased susceptibility of depression and worsen outcomes in schizophrenia patients. Interestingly, countries with high sugar intake correlate to high depression rates.
Although sugar does not directly cause anxiety, it can make already existing symptoms worse and weaken the body’s ability to respond to stress. By minimizing sugar intake, there is a chance of decreasing the risk of anxiety symptoms, improving mood, and improving the body’s stress-coping capabilities.
- Learning Comprehension
Sugar can affect how we learn, how much we learn, and how much we retain. Our bodies and minds were not designed to take in such large amounts of sugar, which have become an integral part of American society. Through new studies, we are more aware of the intricate link between the way we eat and the way we think.
What Can Be Done Today:
- Remove Foods with Added Sugar
Most processed foods have added sugar in them. Read the labels carefully. Many foods that you wouldn’t suspect to be sweetened also have added sugar, such as pasta sauces, salad dressings, and condiment sauces.
- Eat Fruit if You’re Craving a Sweet Snack
Cut down (or ideally eliminate) sodas or fruit juices from your diet. Diet pop and artificial sweeteners are NOT a good alternative – they have been proven hurt health in their own ways.
Jasmine Browley holds an MA in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, and has contributed to Ebony, Jet and MADE Magazine among others. So, clearly, she knows some stuff. Follow her digital journey @JasmineBrowley.