Many of us know the deep connection between sugar and our mood. You may have experienced it after a stressful day when the urge to polish off a block of chocolate sets in. Perhaps you ate a nourishing breakfast and felt ready for the day, or you may recall eating a filling meal during the holiday season and promptly falling asleep.
We constantly see the little ways in which food influences our mood – and also the way we come to depend on certain foods to soothe ourselves. But the food choices we make can be the difference between flourishing and floundering when it comes to mental health. Sugar – that ubiquitous white stuff that finds its way into nearly everything – is a common comfort food, but did you know just how much it contributes to a destabilised mood?
Research has consistently shown the drastic consequences sugar can have on mood, and when consumed over time it can lead to mental health disorders like depression. One such study found the incidence of depression is higher in people who consume more sugar. The study also shows the possibility that research around higher sugar intake among those with mood disorders may be a case of reverse causation. As such, people who already have mood disorders may seek out sugary foods to attempt to improve low moods. Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle that further contributes to mood struggles in the short and long term – and also indicates how deeply interlinked mood and food are, and how they feed into each other and influence our choices.
Another study shows anxiety is increasingly reported in those over 60 who have higher sugar intakes. With a global anxiety rate of over 7%, it’s a wide-reaching condition that affects quality of life, leads to comorbidities with other conditions and is under-diagnosed, leaving many without solutions.
These studies show how the detrimental long-term impacts of sugar on mental health are widespread across population groups, from age to sex, no one is safe from its effects.
But it’s not just long-term consequences we need to watch out for – even short-term sugar intake can lead to some unwanted side-effects. One such effect is a blood sugar spike, which can occur in non-diabetics when there is an overload of glucose in the blood, usually within the hours following a sugary meal. Have a look at some of the symptoms below:
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Muscle tension
Many people remain unaware of the cause of their sudden mood plunges, but sugar remains one of the major culprits.
So, what can we do to improve mood and reduce sugar intake?
When it comes to fighting low mood, we often look to diet and exercise. That’s because these are essential factors to a healthy lifestyle, with the American Psychological Association confirming just 5 minutes of exercise can boost our mental health. Diet has even greater gravity on our overall mood – but many people are held back by sugar cravings and end up caught in a never-ending cycle of excess sugar consumption.
One of the simplest steps to tackle this is by reducing – or better yet, cutting out – sugar. It may seem daunting, but you’re not alone. Join the many people pledging to quit sugar with our 8-Week Program. That’s right, I Quit Sugar will help you revolutionise the way you eat.
How does it work?
We’ve done the hard yards so you can reap the benefits. When you sign up to join us for this program you’ll have access to clear-cut plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists
- 90+ member-only recipes
- Community forums for support and care
- Support from us on the I Quit Sugar team, plus 8WP Ambassadors
- Access to a program recommended by 94% of graduates
The next round is starting soon, if you’re ready to bid farewell to low moods and excited for a future of health, happiness and motivation –JOIN NOW!