It feels good to eat a little piece of cake or some ice cream when anxiety strikes. Sugar activates our reward system and lets us feel comfortable which is why many people who have anxiety issues always look for ways to get a sugary treat to feel good.
However, we fail to understand that sugar does more harm than good to your body as well as your mental health. Apart from making you more susceptible to diabetes and weight gain, it can also make you weaker and frailer over a long period of time.
Here are some reasons why sugar and anxiety shouldn’t go hand in hand.
Sugar leads to energy issues
As sugar is quickly absorbed in the body, it could give you an instant “high,” and you will feel very energetic. That is what we call a ‘sugar rush’ which soon makes way for a sugar crash. This is why you feel very dopey once the initial energy goes away. While most average people can handle the rush and crash with relative ease, if you are suffering from anxiety and depression, you may have a hard time with this substance.
This is because the body releases insulin soon after consuming excessive sugar to stabilize your blood sugar level. It makes your body work awfully hard to remove the effects of the excess sugar which makes you feel drained, tired and irritable. This is like a double whammy for an anxious or depressed person.
Weakened stress response
Anxiety and depression come with stress on your mind and body. However, with an excess of sugar in it, your body’s ability to respond to the stress is decreased manifold. In fact, excess sugar can also increase your risk of developing depression. If you had a difficult day and are reaching out to sugar to feel comfortable, you are allowing yourself to fall for long term trouble for short term satisfaction. With the passage of time, sadness and fatigue become the norm, and you have a hard time getting rid of the feelings.
Sugar overconsumption will trigger certain imbalances in your brain chemicals which could lead to depression and enhance the risk of long-term mental health issues. A 2017 study found that men who consume over 67 grams or more of sugar each day were 23 percent more likely to be diagnosed as clinically depressed with five years. The same link is evident in women as well.
But what about sugar withdrawal?
Just like drugs or alcohol, withdrawal from sugar could feel like a panic attack in the beginning. Most people prefer to go cold turkey and stop sugar consumption altogether. However, it may not be a good idea, especially for those who have a history of panic attacks or anxiety. It would be better to cut down on sugar slowly- starting with highly processed sugars first.
Your body is not a machine- it takes time to adjust to new routines. If you leave sugar behind slowly, it would be much easier to manage your lifestyle as well as your mood swings and anxiety. Though quitting sugar isn’t a magic cure for anxiety and depression, it can definitely help in reducing the damage.
If you want to read more about mental health issues, simply visit https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/ to find the right education and advice.