An unsuspecting dietary choice may be affecting your mental health, especially if you’re a man. Researchers claim that there is a strong correlation between the quantity of sugar you consume and the risk of developing common mental illnesses.

Sugar is debated by some as a highly addictive substance. When we ingest it, opioids and dopamine are released, similar to heroin and cocaine. As well as this, sugar can have serious health implications if too much is eaten. Over indulgence could result in the development of type 2 diabetes, it has been linked to obesity and will cause cavities in your teeth.

Now, a study conducted by researchers from University College London (UCL) has used a sample of 5,000 men and 2,000 women recruited for the Whitehall II study in the 1980s. They discovered that men with a high sugar intake, more than 67g a day, were 23% more likely to develop a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety 5 years later, compared to those that consumed less than 39.5g.

Lead author Anika Knüppel, of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health, said: “High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men. There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“The study found no link between sugar intake and new mood disorders in women and it is unclear why. More research is needed to test the sugar-depression effect in large population samples.

“There is increasing evidence for the physical damage sugar has on our health. Our work suggests an additional mental health effect. This further supports the evidence for policy action such as the new sugar levy in the UK, but this is not addressed in many other European countries.”

In the UK, a sugar tax will come into play in April 2018 which will be a step in the right direction for the health of all UK residents. Further research into the inner workings of how sugar directly affects mental health will need to be conducted if we want to have a full understanding of the cause and effect relationship.

Read the origianl article here

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