Study Links Sugar to Mental Health Disorder

The average adult in the United States consumes roughly 82 grams of processed sugar every day, according to research cited by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). In comparison, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a maximum daily intake of 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

Unfortunately, excess sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And according to a recent study, it also increases the risk of depression.

For the study, University College of London (UCL) researchers examined the diets and mental health of more than 7,000 participants from the Whitehall II study. Researchers discovered that men who consumed the most sugar were 23 percent more likely to develop depression than their counterparts who consumed the least amount of sugar.

Depression is an all-too-common condition from which millions of Americans suffer. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that nearly 7% of the general population has experienced one or more depressive episodes in the past year. Furthermore, depression is the leading cause of worker disability.

After reviewing their findings, researchers speculated that men could be consuming sugar in excess to counter existing depression. Sugar is known to trigger the production and release of endorphins while subsequently improving a person’s mood. However, researchers concluded that men in this study weren’t consuming sugar for this reason.

Anika Knüppel, the study’s lead author, explained that high-sugar diets affect a person’s risk of depression and other mood disorders, particularly among men. If you consume an excessive amount of sugar in your diet, it may increase your risk of becoming depressed.

This study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Eliminating all sources of sugar from your diet is nearly impossible, but there are simple steps you can take to reduce your intake, including the following:

  • Avoid soda, sweetened tea, artificial fruit juice and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Eat a piece of fruit to satisfy sweet cravings
  • Avoid adding sugar to coffee, tea, yogurt and other foods and beverages
About Erica Smith 227 Articles
With several years in the medical field—both as a practitioner and an administrator—Erica has a unique perspective on the health industries. From medical technology to cancer research, she covers our health industry.

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