- The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends we reduce our intake of “free” or “added” sugars to no more than 5% of our daily intake (around 6–9 teaspoons). In reality however, many of us consume double or even triple that amount!
- With one in six people around the world also suffering from a common mental disorder, it begs the question – is there a link between sugar consumption and mood disorders?
- A new study has found that men who consume more than 67 grams of sugar each day increased their risk of suffering from a mood disorder by 23%, just five years later.
We all know the dangers of consuming too much sugar – think weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor dental health and heart disease.
But while previous studies have linked sugar to our mental health and depression, until now, it’s been tough to pinpoint whether pre-existing mental health disorders lead to a higher intake of sugar – because when we feel low we reach for sugary foods and drinks to boost our mood – or if in fact, it’s our consumption of sugar which then influences our mental health.
Well, this new study conducted by the University College of London set to examine that very question and found that men and women with pre-diagnosed mood disorders coupled with a high intake of sugar, were more likely to develop depression, than those who ate less sugar. The study found that for men specifically, those who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar each day were at greater risk of developing depression five years later than men whose intake was less than 40 grams.
Interestingly however, the research also discovered that men and women without pre-diagnosed mood disorders ate the same amount of sugar as those with one, essentially questioning earlier theories that suffering from a mood disorder or depression causes us to eat more sugar.
While the evidence continues to build in this debate, it seems that experts agree – ditching the sweet stuff will not only improve your physical health, but it could boost your mental health too.