Hidden danger of common holiday treats: ‘long-lasting damage to your mental health’ …
(Matt Grant, HealthyWay) We know the risks of sugar to our physical well-being, but new research shows that sweets can have a negative effect on our mental health, too.
For years now, you’ve been inundated with information about how sugar wrecks your waistline and can damage your heart. But there’s now increasing evidence that sugar can do long-lasting damage to your mental health as well.
Sugar, you’re always on my mind
Sugar functions remarkably like drugs on the brain.
Neuroscientist Jordan Gaines Lewis explains:
“Repeated access to sugar over time leads to prolonged dopamine signaling, greater excitation of the brain’s reward pathways and a need for even more sugar to activate all of the midbrain dopamine receptors like before. The brain becomes tolerant to sugar—and more is needed to attain the same ‘sugar high.’”
Sugar can also cause depression, fatigue, and brain fog. When you eat a sugar-filled pastry or consume a sugary drink, your blood sugar levels will spike and then plummet.
That sharp decline or “crash” can leave you feeling moody and anxious, which may in turn lead you back to sugar in order to cope. What’s more, sugar releases serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that results in improved mood. But constantly activating serotonin can deplete the limited amount you have and lead to depression.
In order to cut down on your sugar intake, start by educating yourself on sugar’s many aliases (“fructose,” “dextrose,” “corn syrup,” etc.). Sugar is in so many products these days that it can easily slip into your diet without notice.
Stay away from “diet” soda and other artificial sweeteners as well, since they can give your taste buds what they crave while depriving your body of the calories and nutrition it needs.
Consuming sugar should be a conscious choice, not a passive one. Read the full story at HealthWay.
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