Just as sugar can cause problems in the body such as diabetes, or poor dental health, a high sugar diet can have adverse effects on mental health. Our mood, learning, and cognition is impacted by too much sugar in the body. Too much sugar can increase anxiety symptoms and it impairs our ability to cope with stress. In fact, we eat more sugar when we are stressed out. Sugar can also be the root of inflammation in the body, can lower the immune system, can lead to weight gain. Therefore, a high sugar diet can lead to depression, learning impairment, and lack of memory.
Sugar is addictive just as alcohol and illicit substances only to a lesser extend. Researchers from Yale University found in a study of food addiction that in people with an addictive personality and eating habits, the mere sight of a milkshake activated the same reward center in our brain as cocaine use. To illustrate sugar addiction even further, a study found that rats preferred sugar water over cocaine.
Join me and cut out refined sugar starting on Ash Wednesday - March 6, 2019. And in preparation for this challenge, start to identify your sugar sources. Are you eating danishes or donuts for breakfast? Do you have an afternoon or midnight sugar craving? Think ahead and find new ways to start your day. Many yogurts have 18 grams of sugar which equals about 4-5 teaspoons of sugar.
Which sugar groups do you want to cut out? What habits would you like to change?
Heike Zelnhefer, LCSW
Thoughts - Ideas - Musings