For many people, sweets and other sugary foods are essential snack options for the holidays,media reported. But a new study from the University of Kansas suggests that people may want to avoid eating them to protect their health. People who are prone to depression may experience a decline in mental health, which may eventually be due to other negative factors in winter and eating too many sugary foods.
The researchers say that eating too much sugar increases inflammation and reduces overall health, which ultimately has a negative impact on mood. This is especially problematic in winter when a small percentage of people experience clinical depression or are at high risk of clinical depression due to changes in daylight.
When sunlight decreases, a person’s circadian rhythm changes, which can lead to sleep deprivation. Poor sleep quality itself may also increase the likelihood of entering a depressed state… And, unfortunately, it can also trigger a sugar craving. Eating sugar can have a short-lived positive effect on mood, driving many people to eat too many sweets.
Excessive sugar and its negative effects on inflammation and mood, coupled with poor sleep quality in winter, may eventually be a turning point in the clinical depression of some people. During the holiday season, people’s cravings for carbohydrates combined with a rich sweet tooth may be irresistible to some people, leading researchers to call it a “perfect storm.”
In fact, one researcher points out that too much sugar can be harmful to a person’s physical and mental health, just as eating too much alcohol.
Stephen Ilardi, an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas, explains:
We have ample evidence that drinking one glass of wine a day is safe and may be beneficial to some people. Alcohol is essentially pure calories, pure energy, nutrient-free and highly toxic at high doses. Sugar is very similar. We are learning about depression, and people who optimize their diet should provide all the nutrients their brains need and avoid these potential toxins.
About half of people with depression suffer from systemic inflammation. Hormones produced by these inflamed states can trigger severe depression in ways that affect the brain. The study notes that refined sugars contribute to the growth of many “bad” strains of gut bacteria, which, in addition to causing inflammation, produce chemicals that drive depression and anxiety.
Avoiding these potential negative effects is simple: Avoid foods that add sugar. The researchers recommend foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and minimally processed plant-based foods. Of course, these diets should be carried out all year round, not just in winter.