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Well, it is no secret that sugar is addicting and can harm our physical health if we have too much of it. I myself am a sucker for sweet drinks. I love an occasional boba, Coca Cola, and sweet lattes. Sugar is my weakness! But I do notice for myself that if I have too much of it, my anxiety increases. As great as sugary drinks and foods taste, if we eat too much of it in excess our overall mood can become affected by it. So how exactly does sugar have an impact on our mental health?
Sugar hampers our body’s ability to respond to stress because it suppresses the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis in your brain, which controls stress response.
Sugar affects our mood. Recent studies have found that increased sugar intake can increase mood disorders in women and men, as well as higher feelings of anxiety
Research suggests that sugar impairs our cognitive functioning, which can affect memory and decision making.
Withdrawing from sugar can lead to increased feelings of anxiety
Emerging studies have also shown a direct correlation between our gut and brain. The gut microbiome and its microbes are essential for our overall health. By consuming too much sugar, it can throw off the balance of the microbes in our gut. This can lead to increased inflammation, which can lead to damage of our protective blood-brain barrier. Because of this, inflammation can directly affect the central nervous system. This is why many with autoimmune illnesses also experience depression and anxiety. This isn’t to say that you need to cut out sugar completely. Like anything else in life, moderation is key. I always teach my clients to tune into their bodies when it feels emotionally safe to do so. With that being said, practice mindfulness towards how your body feels after consuming different foods.