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As we all now know…sugar is hiding in all sorts of places when it comes to the food we buy off the supermarket shelves. Research is extensive about the impact sugar has on our bodies in terms of weight gain…but what about the impact it has on our mood and wellbeing?

A recent article looks at this topic and quotes British psychiatric researcher, Malcolm Peet, who has conducted a study on the relationship between diet and mental illness. He uncovered a strong link between high sugar consumption and the risk of both schizophrenia and depression.

“It is not easy to measure and record changes in mood after certain foods. What I would say is that if people are depressed or low, it doesn’t assist them in making good food choices. If you are in a low mood, anxious or depressed, you are less likely to eat a healthy diet.”

Here are some points from the article:

  • Dr Peet says refined-sugar intake can be toxic to mental health.
  • Dr Peet indicated that sugar suppresses activity of BDNF, a key growth hormone in the brain. This hormone promotes the health and maintenance of neurons in the brain. It plays a vital role in memory function, by triggering the growth of new connections between neurons.
  • Professor Ivan Perry, of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College Cork, stresses that scientifically it can be quite difficult to establish a definitive cause and effect between sugar consumption and moods/depression.
  • He says what is unquestioned is that a healthy diet decreases our risk of developing dementia or cognitive difficulties later in life.
  • The World Health Organisation recommends that adults eat no more than 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day (24- 36 grams) and that children should eat no more than between 3-6 teaspoons of sugar per day ( 12-24 grams) to avoid obesity and tooth decay.
  • The guidelines apply to added sugars and to sugars which are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates, (collectively known as free sugars), but do not apply to the sugars found naturally in fresh fruits, vegetables and milk.

Follow the link to read the full article.