Why Cutting Out All The Sugar Won’t Cure Your Anxiety7 November 2018
The way you feel mentally can be directly correlated to how you feel physically and it’s certainly true that the things you put into your body as part of a diet meal plan, can effect you both physically and mentally. Sugar in particular, or rather an excess of it in your diet, has been viewed by some, as one of the biggest contributing factors to a poor mental state.
There’s no getting away from the fact that too much sugar in a diet can potentially contribute to a number of health risks, from heart disease to diabetes. However, although sugar has been linked to a greater risk of depression in adults, cutting it out completely won’t cure your feelings of anxiety.
How can sugar affect my mood?
Most of us have felt that surge of dopamine when we take in a sugary treat or drink, essentially a feel-good chemical that can cause us to crave more. Whole foods such as fruit and veg don’t induce the same sort of dopamine levels in the brain, and therefore we are less likely to crave a carrot as opposed to a candy bar.
These craving for a pleasure inducing sugar rush can be difficult to tame, and the sudden burst of energy can quickly raise your blood sugar levels. As blood sugar levels sharply drop back down, this can lead to the dreaded “sugar crash” effect, which often leaves you feeling nervous and fidgety, or more lethargic.
Is there a link between sugar and anxiety?
Anxiety is horrible and can really hold back a healthy and balanced life. But although the sugar come down can make us feel low, pinning something as complex as anxiety on the fact that sugar is addictive and therefore toxic is too simplistic a view. In truth, although many of us consume quite a bit of sugar in our daily diets, there is very little evidence to support that it is in some way uniquely harmful.
Plenty of information out there in the health and fitness industry supports the notion that cutting out sugar can act as some sort of ‘cure’ for anxiety. But trying to boil down treating a multifaceted illness through adjusting how much sugar is in a diet can be harmful and insulting to sufferers.
There is little doubt that a balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, is a beneficial approach for many conditions. However, despite a number of relationships between sugar intake, depression and anxiety having been observed, it’s not quite as simple to determine the real cause.
Will stamping out sugar end the slump?
Again anxiety is multifaceted, it may have links to lifestyle for some people, but for others it could be from a painful loss earlier in life, or a traumatic event as an adult. These are things that can’t be easily solved by changing your diet meal plan around, or cutting out sweet things completely. It is misguided to claim that a specific diet can get rid of anxiety for good, and that some kind of sugar detox offers a “cure” for the condition.
When our mental health suffers, this can impact our dietary choices, and before we know it our diet meal plan has disappeared and we’re reaching for the junk food. A poor diet can actually be the result of feeling low or anxious, instead of the other way round. Sugar can have a hand at creating changes in your body that may exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety, but it doesn’t influence the complex issues and route causes of the illness that many people are facing.
In truth, there is no clear-cut way to simply get rid of anxiety, but there are things you can do to manage it better…
What other steps can I take?
We are all guilty of doing things that make us more anxious and although staying away from sugary snacks can seem like the answer, there are other more effective ways of looking after your mental health, including:
- Talking to someone – especially someone you trust, about the things that are making you anxious can offer some relief. Having someone there to really listen to you, and show you that they care can work wonders for your mental wellbeing.
- Getting regular exercise – such as walking in a nearby park, or going for a bike ride can really make a difference to your physical and mental health. Plus, there are plenty of exercises you can do without a gym.
- Being mindful of your breathing – can be essential when your heart starts beating out of your chest and panic sets in. Practicing mindfulness and focusing on your own breathing are great techniques to calm yourself down during these states.
- Seeking some professional help – when your anxiety is severe and preventing from living your life to the full, is vital. Book a GP appointment, discuss possible treatments, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and get the right help that you deserve.
At Prep Perfect, we know that a well balanced diet that includes fresh, nutritiously rich meals will go a long way to keeping your body and mind healthy. So, we’re proud to deliver tailored and delicious meals to you when you need them, and all of our diet meal plans can be made to fit with your schedule.