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While it is no surprise that a high sugar diet takes a large toll on our body physically, but now a new study has reason to believe it affects our mental health as well. Yes, the same sugar that gives you the temporary mood boost at the end of a long work day has been found to be detrimental to your long term mental health.
A new study published in 2017 added to the list of reasons why you need to be aware of your sugar intake. It is easy to see the extra pounds sugar will add to your waistline, but mental health problems aren’t so obvious. The study, published in the journal of Scientific Reports, analyzed data collected from the Whitehall II study. About 7,000 participants from the United Kingdom were surveyed about their diet and mental health every few years. After 22 years of collecting data, researchers found evidence to support that men who have a diet high in sugar are 23% more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety in the long term. Oppositely, men whose diet includes less than 39.5 grams of sugar each day were less likely to develop a mood disorder within 5 years. The results for women who participated in the study were not as significant as they were for men.
This study is important because it dispels the idea that people who suffer from depression and anxiety tend to consume more sugar as a way to cope. Interestingly, the study found no evidence to show that having a mental health problem causes you to eat more sugary foods or beverages, but rather puts the blame on sugar. The sugar itself is harmful to your mental health.
“There is increasing evidence for the physical damage sugar has on our health. Our work suggests an additional mental health effect… our study shows there may be a link between sugar and mood disorders.” reported by the lead researcher at the University College London Institute for Epidemiology and Health.
It is important to note that the at-risk men in the study consumed over 67 grams of sugar per day which is actually less than what the average American takes in per day. The American Heart Association recommends less than 38 grams of added sugar per day for men, but the average American consumes about 82 grams per day.
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