It may cause or contribute to depression and anxiety.
If you’ve ever experienced a sugar crash, then you know that sudden peaks and drops in blood sugar levels can cause you to experience symptoms like irritability, mood swings, brain fog and fatigue.
That’s because eating a sugar-laden donut or drinking a soda causes blood sugar levels to spike upon consumption and then plummet. When your blood sugar inevitably dips back down (hence the “crash”), you may find yourself feeling anxious, moody or depressed.
Sugar-rich and carb-laden foods can also mess with the neurotransmitters that help keep our moods stable. Consuming sugar stimulates the release of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin.
Constantly over-activating these serotonin pathways can deplete our limited supplies of the neurotransmitter, which can contribute to symptoms of depression, according to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, functional medicine expert and author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working?.
Chronically high blood sugar levels have also been linked to inflammation in the brain. And as some research has suggested, neuroinflammation may be one possible cause of depression.