After a stressful day your mood has collapsed, and the first thing you want to try is to calm your nerves with lots of ice cream. Did you ever think it was weird that you have cravings for sweets when you are exhausted?
Well, there may be some scientific reasoning behind this common problem, since you are not alone. There is an undeniable link between your mental health and sugar. The problem goes far beyond the sweets you eat every day, and has to do with your stress levels and your craving for sweets.
A STUDY THAT PROVIDES A CLEAR LINK BETWEEN STRESS AND SUGAR CRAWLS
A fascinating study was conducted by the University College London Institute of Epidemiology. They found that people who consume large amounts of sugar in their diet have a higher risk of developing depression. On the other hand, a person could say that their depressive nature led them to seek out carbohydrates and sugars.
Could the massive consumption of sugar, which has caused an obesity problem, be the reason why depression is on the rise? It's an interesting concept to consider, especially since both issues are out of control.
While it may seem like depression comes first and sugar cravings second, the study found that intense sugar cravings came first. They called this phenomenon reverse causality. What the study couldn't see is the exact cause and how the two are linked.
The real conundrum is how sweet sugar can cause so much trouble in the body and how it is destroying vital parts of the brain.
YOUR DIET AND MENTAL HEALTH ARE CONNECTED
In 2002, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center conducted a study on sugar consumption. They looked at data from six countries. They found that people who consume more sugar in their diet have a significantly higher rate of depression.
The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, has been all the rage. The menu calls on users to restrict their carbohydrate content and decrease their consumption of processed and fast foods. The typical diet is loaded with pizza, hamburgers, and French fries.
The Texas study showed that people who regularly ate junk food and processed varieties had a higher rate of depression than those who ate healthily. Another major problem is sugary drinks like sodas, juices, and sports / energy drinks. These people were also at higher risk of developing mental health conditions than those who drank mostly water.
The purpose of these studies was not to find the biological or mechanical links to unhappiness; rather, he was trying to identify the relationship between sugar and depression. Surprisingly, the connection is undeniable in all six countries examined. Are highly stressed people at higher risk?
UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE OF SUGAR
Your body does not need sugar to function properly. Sugars are made from simple carbohydrate molecules. Your body needs carbohydrates to help your cells and organs function, but the internal workings of the human system can extract nutrients from carbohydrates and give the body what it needs.
Realistically, you don't need to consume candy to give your body what it needs. Eating these white things is of no benefit, and your sugar cravings can ruin your health. The American Heart Association states that your body will use sugar no matter where it comes from for cell function.
For example, you can eat a chocolate bar or you can have some nutritious honey. Both will give your body what it needs, but one is healthier for you. You can get sugar from fruits and vegetables, molasses, and milk. However, foods processed with sugar tend to be more difficult for your body to process than naturally occurring varieties.
They went on to claim that you only need 6-9 teaspoons each day for optimal cell function. The average can of soda contains more than eight teaspoons of sugar, but an apple only has 3.8 teaspoons and provides other vitamins and minerals your body needs. Now which one is best for you?
If you drink three cans of soda a day, you will consume 24 teaspoons of sugar, which is four times the amount needed. Also, when you have a high intake of sugary sweets, it causes problems with your teeth and waist and affects your mental health.
Your cravings for sweets have a direct link to your diet. The more you eat it, the more your body wants more. It can be an addiction as well as an illegal drug, especially for highly stressed people.
NERVOUS DAMAGE FROM HIGH SUGAR CONSUMPTION
A neuron is a nerve cell that transfers impulses throughout the body. These cells are extremely sensitive and cannot handle large amounts of sugar. If you consume a can of soda and a donut, then you are causing sugar spikes in your body.
When a person has type II diabetes, the risk of nerve damage is great. After decades of research, science is finally unraveling how high levels of sugar in the bloodstream can cause this irreversible damage.
Huazhong University of Science wanted to see how sugar damaged neurons in the brain. They used rats that had diabetes for their research. They found that when the rats had high levels of glucose in their system, they had increased inflammation in their bodies.
The inflammation allowed them to see the biological connections. What they didn't expect the study to reveal was the link between Alzheimer's and diabetes, showing that sugar cravings and high toxicity can affect overall brain health.
The rats ate a diet high in sugary sweets for many days to see how high glucose levels affected their function. After the fifth day, the rats had difficulty recognizing places, and their mental capacity began to deteriorate. What they couldn't discover is the exact mechanism in sugar that causes mental health problems.
It is a serious problem because many people cannot control their sugar cravings, which ruins their brain health.
AVOIDING THE DANGERS OF SUGAR
Sugar cravings are difficult to combat, especially in times of high stress. It's easy to say that you're going to adopt a sugar-free lifestyle, but all the commercials and ads for the latest gift are hard to ignore. Another problem is that even foods that appear to be healthy can have high amounts of sugar that people don't even realize.
Have you checked your kid's breakfast cereal content lately? While the front of the box may say whole grain, the back of the box tells a completely different story. Another common condiment that has sugar levels as high as a serving of ice cream is ketchup. How many tablespoons of this tomato puree do you consume with your hamburger and fries?
Other shocking labels include milk, yogurt, bread, and items that claim to be lower in fat. If you want to control your sugar cravings, you need to start reading your labels. You are consuming much more sugar than you know because it is hidden in many everyday foods.
Unfortunately, even sweet foods for babies and young children have high levels of sugar that are more than they need in a day. It's time to go back to basics and prepare delicious, healthy meals that don't have all the dangers hidden in them.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO BREAK YOUR SUGAR CRAWLS
Many people think that by switching to a low carb lifestyle, their craving for sweets will disappear. Be patient, although you will feel better, it will take some time to control those cravings. It may take up to a month before your body doesn't crave sugar, but you can have a fruit instead of a candy bar to combat those cravings.
Making better food choices can help your mental health. You can eat foods that will help fight depression, such as items rich in omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. You have the power to take charge of your brain health, and Mother Nature is there to help you.
The next time you feel your stress levels rising and your craving for sugary sweets, do something different to combat those feelings. You should walk, eat fruit, or call a friend or loved one for a ventilation session.
Also, if you want to control your sugar problem, don't buy it. It is difficult to consume something in an anxiety attack when it is not easily accessible. When you kick the sugar onto the sidewalk, you'll feel better and save a ton of money.
Invest your savings in a gym membership or a massage, as these are natural and more effective ways to manage daily stress and anxiety. Highly stressed people need healthy outlets to deal with the distress they feel.
You have the power to end these cravings and take control of your mental health. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.