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Doctors have long known that low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, could trigger mood swings and alter mental heath. In addition to physical symptoms such as tremors or fainting, patients may experience anxiety, depression, irritability, or aggressive behavior. Some psychologists have even theorized of a link between excess sugar in the diet and criminal behavior. A prominent British researcher, Malcolm Peet, conducted a study of how some mental illnesses may be related to excess sugar consumption. Preliminary findings indicate a definite link between high levels of sugar intake and the risk of developing either schizophrenia or depression, both detrimental to mental health.
Studies indicate that decreased BDNF levels can cause depression. Levels of BDNF are extremely low in patients with schizophrenia and depression. Both diseases often cause certain regions of the brain to shrink with time. Another possible mechanism in the link between sugar and mental illness is that the consumption of sugar causes a chain of chemical reactions that can cause chronic inflammation. Inflammation can be beneficial in the short term, such as when the body is attempting to heal a wound.
Over time, however, it can cause damage to the brain and interferes with the normal activities of the body's immune system. Inflammation can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer. It has also been found to increase the risk of schizophrenia and depression.There is essentially no difference in how the body processes refined sugar, fructose, and corn syrup. They are all simple sugars and the body responds in a virtually identical fashion. Therefore, a high level of consumption of any type of sugar can affect both mental and physical health.For most of mankind's existence, refined sugar did not exist. Sweets consumed were in the form of fresh fruits, which were beneficial to the diet but were seldom plentiful enough for the sugar to be consumed in any great quantity. Experimenting with dietary changes could be beneficial, especially for those suffering from depression. Always discuss making dietary changes with a qualified physician. In the very least, dieting will result in weight loss and energy. Throw in a little exercise for good measure.
post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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