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There is a sinister connection between sugar and depression we bet you didn’t know

Updated on:13 September 2020, 13:00pm IST
Does depression make you binge on sugar, or is it the other way round? It’s time to unveil the truth and decode the connection between sugar and depression.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Sugar is not just responsible for weight gain, but also causes mental distress. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

An occasional ‘sugar high’ after gorging on that bar of chocolate or digging into your favourite tub of ice-cream is perfectly normal, but if you find yourself doing this all the time, your body is giving you signs.

Yes ladies, it means that your mental health needs more attention. You might be anxious about something or suffering from depression, anything is possible. Don’t believe us? Read on to find out more.

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We all know how food triggers certain emotions in our bodies, right? If we are happy, we celebrate by eating our favourite food, and when we are down and out, we again turn to food. Sadly, all this food we are consuming is processed, as per a study conducted by The British Journal of Psychiatry.

The study goes on to prove that those participants who consume more refined carbs have developed depression over a period of five years. Now that’s an eye-opener, isn’t it?

This is how sugar invades our system
There are two kinds of sugar:

Simple sugar: This type of sugar is found in vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Since it is complemented by other minerals, vitamins and fibres, the body takes time to absorb it.

Processed sugar: This kind of sugar has zero nutritional value, and provides empty calories. It is found in chocolate bars, soft drinks, and it goes straight into our systems.

After entering our body, sugar breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then supplied to cells for energy. But too much energy is also a problem, ladies, because you won’t even realise when you develop sugar addiction!

sugar
Not just weight gain and bloating, sugar can also hamper your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There’s a reason for it: when you consume sugar, you release high levels of dopamine, which is a feel-good hormone. When you consume sweet treats in large quantities, your body begins to make certain chemical changes, which leads to an increased craving for sugar. When you don’t get it, you feel cranky, irritable, anxious, low, and severely depressed. These withdrawal symptoms are for real!

“Sugar gives you an instant kick and because this kick doesn’t go on for really long, you keep on adding more sugar to your diet”, shares Priya Palan, dietician at Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Mumbai.

According to a study published in the journal Science Reports, women are more prone to common mental disorders and depression, caused by increased sugar intake.

Inflammation in the body is another cause of depression
According to renowned clinical psychologist, Dr Bhavna Barmi, food has a great impact on our moods and emotions. Sugar can increase the risk of triggering mood disorders and depression — this is because it increases inflammation in the body, which has a huge link with depression.

sugary drinks and heart disease
Sugar causes inflammation in the body, which is associated with depression. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Loss of appetite, changes in sleep patterns are some symptoms which are common to both inflammation and depression”, she said. There’s an article published in the journal Current Psychiatry, which is in agreement with Dr Barmi.

Keep your insulin levels in check to tackle depression
Keeping a track of your blood sugar levels, and leading a healthy lifestyle is critical to tackling depression. Insulin fluctuations in your body can cause metabolic disturbances, and that’s another reason for depression according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. But controlling your levels will keep depression at bay!

Hence proved: Eating too much sugar can lead to depression
By now, it’s clear how sugar wreaks havoc on your mental health. But if you think only sugary items have glucose, that’s not true. Even savoury foods are loaded with it, and they have the same impact on your brain.

“The food is not good or bad, it’s the quantity”, says Ms Palan. So peeps, we aren’t saying ban sugar for life, all we’re saying is consume it in moderation to avoid mental trauma!

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.