We’ve all been there. You work late one day and stop for fast food on your way home. This makes you groggy in the morning, which means you work late again the next day. More fast food, more bad sleep, more work, more stress.

Often, this toxic cycle can lead to an upswing in mental health issues. Often, we chalk them up to lack of sleep or stress. But did you know it might be the sugar in that Coca-Cola that’s causing these issues?

Researchers at the Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London in the United Kingdom, recently found that men who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar a day were 23% more likely to develop anxiety, depression, and other common mental illnesses over a five year period. [1]

Sugar is linked to inflammation, which can be linked to loss of appetite and sleep pattern issues, all of which are also common symptoms of depression. One study from Clinical Psychiatry News found links between inflammation and depression. [2]

In fact, by cutting down on sugar intake, you can actually improve your mental state. According to a study from the Cambridge Press, a diet rich in whole foods, vegetables, and fish, can actually decrease your chance of developing mental illness in middle age. [3]

Now, it isn’t easy to completely cut out sugar, and like anything, can be consumed in small portions. However, prioritizing healthy eating and an avoidance of refined sugars is another fantastic tool in the healthy mental state toolbox. Just the same as we exercise to keep our body in good shape, eating right can help us to keep our mind in shape as well.

Sugar can also affect your emotional health. We’ve all had the sugar high and low following a meal of ice cream and chocolate. These lows are caused by our bodies attempting to bring our blood sugar levels back down to normal. This can cause the nerves, irritability, and fatigue caused by a sugar low. [1]

So, next time you feel that stress come on, whip out your antidote of healthy foods, and avoid the sugar trap. Your mind will love you for it.

Thanks for reading and please let me know what is the most challenging part of this self-care suggestion. What has helped you?

Remember your time is N.O.W.

1 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5532289/
2 www.mdedge.com/psychiatry/article/76288/depression/depression-and-inflammation-examining-link
3 www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/dietary-pattern-and-depressive-symptoms-in-middle-age/96D634CD33BD7B11F0C731BF73BA9CD3