Sugar is in almost everything we eat.
Powdered donuts that stare at you from store shelves, sugar-filled sodas that sit in convenience store coolers, and candy bars that beg you to buy them at the checkout stand…
There’s no denying it: we eat too much sugar, and it’s weighing our bodies down with extra pounds and chronic diseases like type II diabetes.
However, did you know that recent studies have also pegged sugar as bad for your brain and a detriment to your mental health?
Sugar Makes You Depressed
A study published with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) suggested countries with high sugar intake also had a high rate of depression.
Scientists compared the increase in sugar consumption over time in various countries and saw a corresponding rise in the prevalence of major depression.
Experiencing just one sugar “crash” can lead to anxious or moody feelings, and a diet high in sugar may lead to brain inflammation, which some researchers have suggested may cause depression.
Sugar May Increase Risk of Dementia
In 2013, researchers found that diabetes was a risk factor for dementia, but that study participants who didn’t even have diabetes were at an increased risk for dementia when they had high blood glucose levels.
Glucose is a form of energy for your body’s cells, but too much glucose in your body may lead to damage to your kidneys, the development of diabetes, and a host of other chronic conditions.
Tip: Keep your blood glucose levels in check with regular exercise. Reduce the harm to your body of those occasional sugary splurges with a quick jog or walk around the block.
Sugar Impairs Memory
A study conducted at UCLA found that sustaining a diet high in fructose negatively impacted memory and cognitive function. Learning impairment was seen as quickly as six weeks after starting an unhealthy diet.
The good news? The study also found that eating healthy omega-3 fatty acids could counteract the effects of too much fructose.
Beware: Sugar is Everywhere!
Candy bars aren’t the only source of sugar in your diet. That innocent piece of bread on your sandwich is probably loaded with sugar, and the flavored Greek yogurt you have every morning is probably filled to the brim with added sugar, too.
If you need a sugar fix, choose a healthy piece of fruit. The natural sugar in fruit (fructose) is easily processed by your body because of the valuable fiber that comes along with it.