We all know that a diet high in processed foods and added sugars can lead to negative health outcomes, such as high cholesterol and diabetes. However, we seem to be less familiar with the negative impact of a high-sugar, processed diet on our mental health. Consuming lots of added sugars and fast food can affect your brain, mood, learning and cognition. Below we list some of the ways added sugars and sweeteners can impact your mental health:
They don't call it a "sugar crash" for no reason. Consuming lots of sugar at once can give you a high (emotionally and physically), but it can also lead to a crash and low mood. When consumed frequently, sugars, sweeteners and processed foods can cause systemic and chronic inflammation. Depression and other mood disorders have been linked to inflammation in the body, which is exacerbated by diets high in sugars, sweeteners and processed foods. To learn more about chronic inflammation and how to reduce it, check out our blog.
2. Cognitive Abilities
A study conducted at UCLA found that after 6 weeks of being given a diet of a fructose solution (similar to soda and other high-sugar foods and drinks) rats forgot their way out of a maze, whereas rats given a more nutritious diet with omega-3s were able to find their way out faster. The researchers found that the high sugar diet caused insulin resistance, blocking communication between brain cells. This study shows the implications of a high sugar, processed diet on learning and memory, two crucial cognitive functions!
While a high-sugar diet and processed foods have not been shown to cause anxiety, they have been linked to worsening the impact and symptoms of anxiety. This diet can cause the body to respond poorly to stressors, impairing the body's ability to handle stress and worsening anxiety. A sugar crash can cause you to feel shaky and tense, and high sugar intake can lead to blurry vision and fatigue - all of which are symptoms of anxiety.
On a positive note...
The risks and health impacts of high sugar intake are being recognized. A recent study found that while the typical American diet is still categorized as "ultra-processed," we are gradually decreasing our high-carb and high-sugar foods and beverages. As we have a greater understanding of the negative impact of these ultra-processed foods and sweeteners on our body and mind, we will be more likely to make the right choices for our bodies and minds.
At O2 Living, we value your health and well-being, that's why our organic, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices are free from any sweeteners or additives. When you drink a cold-pressed Living Juice, you can be sure that you are just getting fruits and veggies!