Sugary foods spike depression in men
For a food required by none but craved by all, sugary foods and drinks have driven the world in the modern era. Today, sugarcane is the third most valuable crop after cereals and rice and covers roughly 27 million hectares of the world’s surface.
With the growing appetite for sweet and syrupy delights, the excessive consumption of sugar is associated with various physical and psychological health problems, such as liver damage, dyslipidemia, obesity, bone loss, diabetes, heart and kidney diseases due to high uric acid levels, depression, etc.
Besides, increasing the risk of developing mood disorders, sugary foods like sweeteners, corn syrup, honey, molasses, maple syrup, cakes, etc. exacerbate the condition of the patients suffering from schizophrenia, anxiety symptoms, etc. Being highly addictive in nature, they affect the functioning of the brain by activating the same reward centers as in the case of cocaine.
The 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans distinguishes between added sugars and other sources of carbohydrates and advises the public to moderate their intake of sugar while choosing beverages and foods. The term ‘added sugars’ refers to the sugar eaten or used as a condiment at the dining table or as an ingredient in the processed foods.
In fact, the non-diet soft drinks account for one-third of the total intake of added sugar in the United States. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports sought to determine the role of sugar in the development of mood disorders.
Link between sugar consumption and mood disorders
Prior studies have documented that the intake of sweet food, beverages and added sugar is associated with the development of depressive symptoms in several populations. To corroborate the link between depression and sugary foods, researchers from the University College London (UCL) led by Anika Knüppel of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health conducted the above-mentioned study. They also sought to find out the role of reverse causation between depression and sugary foods in 5,000 men and 2,000 women recruited from the Whitehall II study from the 80s.
Some of the key findings of the study were as follows:
- Men without a mood disorder who consumed over 67 g of sugar a day had a 23 percent increased risk of suffering from a mood disorder five years down the line compared to those who consumed less than 40 g a day.
- The risk for mental disorders in men was found to be independent of the individual’s socioeconomic status, physical activity, drinking, and smoking, other eating habits, body fatness and physical health.
- Compared to those who consumed less sugar, men and women with a mood disorder and a high intake of sugar from sweet foods and beverages were at a higher risk of becoming depressed again five years later. However, this association is partly covered by their overeating habits.
- No association was found for a potential reverse effect, i.e. participants did not change their sugar intake after suffering from mood disorders.
According to Knüppel, “High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men. There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Although the study cannot ascertain why sugar has the ability to make people sad, its findings will play a pivotal role in spreading awareness. Whether sugar causes mood disorders or not, cutting down on sugar consumption is probably a good move for a person’s overall health.
Eat right to stay healthy
Since depression is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses responsible for causing a range of problems, it is essential to regulate one’s diet by monitoring sugar consumption. The national dietary surveys also suggest that men consume more sugar than women do, significantly increasing the odds of experiencing recurrent depression and other health complications.
If you or your loved is experiencing the symptoms of depression, it is important to seek help. The Texas Depression Treatment Help assists in accessing the best depression treatment centers in Texas that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-827-0282 or chat online to know more about depression treatment in Texas.