Sugar in small quantities is not a health risk, but we are simply eating too much of it. Excess sugar in the diet is bad for our waistline as well as heart we all know. But there is evidence now to prove that high levels of sugar consumption (or sugar addiction) have a serious negative effect on the mental health as well.
WHO recommends only 5 percent of daily caloric requirement from sugar. It is as high as 13 -15 per cent in a typical diet with zero nutritional value. Mostly in the US, people are consuming five times more the amount of sugar is required.
Research has proven that with high intake of sugar the communication among brain cells is impaired leading to learning difficulties and impaired memory. It may contribute to depression and anxiety. Sudden binges and craving for sugar causes the blood sugar to spike then drop, often called “crash down” causes irritability, mood swings, and fatigue, underlines Preety Tyagi, nutritionist.
Recent studies suggest that sugar and carb-rich foods can also mess with nerve signals and neurotransmitters, sugar stimulates the release of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter – Serotonin. Cravings for sugar lead to the over-activity of the serotonin pathways, which causes depletion of the limited supply of the feel-good neurotransmitter. It mimics symptoms of depression.
Tyagi explains the cycle and how much is your sugar addiction costing us and suggests ways to overcome it.
Over-consumption of sugar creates a chaos in the brain; it creates a perpetual cycle of intense cravings. When a person consumes sugar, it activates tongue taste receptors signals to the brain. It lights up the reward pathway releasing the feel-good hormone – Dopamine, blood sugar level increases. This excess consumption of sugar is predominantly the cause of childhood obesity, developmental issues and behavioral problems in adults and kids.