You reach for something sweet like ice cream or some sugary treat when your mood is off, although it is said that high sugar intake plays a major role in increasing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other communicable diseases. Yes, your brain is in need of more energy than any other organ and here glucose is the main component of your body that gives energy. Now the question arises that if the intake of sugar is high, how sugar affects your brain functions and behavior.
Sugar basically acts like drugs to your brain, the less you take the more you crave. It basically acts like rewards to your brain and can work as an addiction. Some of you are addicted to sugary food and drinks and that results in overeating. You usually reward your children and family members with sweet, when they had done something good. You also treat occasions with sweet and sugary treats like birthdays and festivals. Whether you are stressed or depressed or sad or angry, you give yourselves food that is full of sugar and it can affect your physical and mental health as well.
Researchers have said that taking too much sugar can increase the risk of mood disorders including depression; they can also impact your quality of life and your learning process. Sugar and mental health are now considered a toxic combination that severely affects mental health. Sugar intake in an excessive manner may also affect your cognitive skills and self-control. It affects memory and attention also.
When you ditch sugar you can be physically and mentally healthy.
Some reasons how sugar affects your brain are listed below
- Excess sugar impacts your mood: You may rush for sugar when you feel a lack of energy in your body. This is probably known as the sugar rush. You can go for a sugary drink or something sweet to boost your day. For some, it may bring a positive impact but for some, it may bring a negative impact. Researchers have said that sugary treats can affect the mood in a negative way.
A study published in 2017 founded that sugar may have a negative impact on mood in men and they may develop mood disorders. The study also indicated that both men and women recur their mood disorders if they had one in their past.
More recent research in 2019 has shown that a high amount of saturated fats and sugary treats may bring a higher amount of anxiety in people over age 60.
The researcher also founded that a higher amount of sugary drinks and fried food is linked to depression among people who are in middle age. If they wanted to lower their depression they should take whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and fish.
- Sugar can also weaken the ability to deal with stress: People increase the intake of sugary drinks and treat when they feel anxious. The body’s ability to respond to stress is weakened by the excessive intake of sugar. When you take a high amount of sugar, it suppresses your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis which will make you feel less exhausted. Sugar can suppress the stress hormone but when you take too much for every stressor then it can lead to serious health issues including obesity.
- When you withdraw from sugar you may feel like getting a panic attack: When you think and start to quit the processed sugar, the process is quite difficult and you may feel like getting a panic attack. Withdrawing from sugar may give you the following side effects:
With this, the researchers have said that sugar is termed addictive in nature because you may have similar symptoms like that when you withdraw from some drugs. And if you already have anxiety issues then quitting sugar or withdrawing from sugar may have exaggerated psychological effects.
- Sugar affects the power of your brain: Your stomach may want sugar but your brain doesn’t want to go that way. Researchers have said that when you prefer to take a diet high in sugar, it can damage your cognitive functioning, even if there is no high energy intake.
A study done in 2015 founded that the beverages which are sweetened can impact your neurocognitive functioning like decision making and memory. Diet can impact your brain.
High sugar intake may cause inflammation in the brain which may lead to learning difficulties. Sugar can be toxic to mental health although it does not impair it permanently and it can be reversed by following a low carbohydrate diet. It will block the negative effects of sugar.
Psychologists as mental health care providers play a major role in understanding biological, behavioral, and social factors that influence mental health and physical wellbeing. Dr. (Prof) R K Suri, the Senior Clinical Psychologist at Psychowellness Center, is a trained professional clinical psychologist, having more than 36 years of experience in all kinds of mental health issues and related therapeutic interventions.
Furthermore, TalkToAngel online mental health services under him put your needs first. They can help you with flexible appointments, personalized and customized intervention plans all at the tip of your fingers.