Anyone eating junk food over a period of time knows that it never makes us feel good. It makes us feel a little sick. Be it candy, or chips, sugary desserts or salty food, whenever we eat junk food, we know that it’s bad for our health – for all, physical, mental or emotional health.
A study, from Columbia University, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that there exists a link between eating junk food and depression.
Constantly eating candies, drinking soda and eating foods that are high in carbohydrates can make us sad, without us realizing it. Fats and sugars are also shown to cause cognitive impairment.
Even though the study looked at post menopausal women, only, an assistant professor at the University, James Gangswisch predicts that eating a lot of sugars affects men as well.
According to the assistant professor, people who are already depressed tend to consume and crave more sweets. So, people who were already depressed were depressed from the study. The main aim of the study was to look at the relationship between the diet’s glycemic index to the new cases of depression, that is, to find out how the sugar levels affected the state of a person’s mind.
The glycemic index is used for measuring the increase in a person’s blood sugar by the type of food they eat.
The study included measurements from a food study if 70000 women. Initially, none of these women were depressed. Based on a questionnaire and a follow-up after three years, the study looked at their food consumption and levels of depression.
The results clearly showed that women eating food with a higher glycemic index were at a higher risk of developing depression than others who ate food with a lower index. Dairy products were associated with protection against depression, while added sugars caused the most damage. Total sugars and carbs showed an intermediate effect.
To protect against depression, it was seen that fibrous diets including fruits and vegetables were useful, while diets with refined grains elevated the risk.
Drinking a soft drink, which contains a lot of sugar, increased the blood sugar level. The body releases insulin to lower the level, but also releases counter measures to increase the blood sugar, if the released insulin is high. If the sugar supply to the brain is lower, it affects your mood.
Fruits contain sugars, but the glycemic index is low. It also consists of fibres which slows down the rate of release of sugar in the blood stream. This tends to keep the sugar level constant and prevents a very high or a very low amount of sugar level.
However, eating candy or drinking soda can make you crave for even more. Once the blood sugar is high, insulin is released to control it. As soon as it goes low again, you want to have more of it, and end up in an emotional rollercoaster.
A diet high in sugars can lead to cardiovascular diseases. This is linked to depression and also causes resistance to insulin. So, not only are you physically diseased, you’re mentally sad as well.
To control your mood, you should try to leave candies, cakes and other foods with a high glycemic index. Some studies have found that chocolate has a benefits in heart health, but too much of anything is bad for you. A lot of it will end up in increasing the risk of diabetes and depression.
Remember, the key to a healthy and a happy life is a balanced diet. Eat a diet consisting of a good amount of proteins, carbs, fat, fiber and vitamins. Seasonal and natural fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy lifestyle.