Does sugar make us happy?

Whenever I have had a bad day, or am feeling down I tend to treat myself with some sort of sugar; whether that’s eating a bag of sour patch, a carton of ice cream or a box of cookies. I’m not sure why I always crave bad food when feeling sad or stressed, but it tends to do the job. Although candy and junk food may not be the healthiest solution to happiness, they can be the best remedy for a quick fix. I am curious to know whether sugar and junk food are actually making me feel happy or do they lead me to be more depressed?

As I was researching about sugar, I found out that sugar can actually cause depression. Some people are allergic to sugar and goods like white flour that the human body processes like, yet they are causing people to suffer from chronic severe depression and anxiety. Scientists refer to this depression as “metabolic syndrome Type II” where people’s brains become swollen, causing them to feel depressed.

Unlike how sugar causes my stressed and depressed behavior into happiness, sugar can actually cause people aggressive behavior, anxiety, and fatigue. Specialists at the Brain Bio Center, have found that poor blood sugar is one of the biggest factors in mood disorders. The brain depends on an even supply of glucose, so when one eats a great amount of sugar there becomes sudden peaks and troughs in the amount of glucose in your blood causing symptoms of depression, irritability, and even poor concentration and forgetfulness.


What I have found quite ironic when researching about whether sugar makes people happy, is that sugar and junk food actually cause people to feel depressed the next day. When you think about it, if I were to eat a chocolate bar after completing my math homework because I felt stressed, my initial response would lead me to feeling content while eating it. But then, the next day I might have the same feeling of stress and if I were to eat another piece of junk food, the cycle would continue. I would never actually be healthy and feel relieved, since I would only get quick fixes, but long term effects of a unhealthy diet, and mood.

James E. Ganwisch, PhD, assistant professor at Colombia University noticed for himself that he would fall into this cycle of finding himself feeling down the day after consuming a lot of sugar. He, along with a team of researchers, decided to experiment to find out whether foods with a higher glycemic index (GI) would be associated with greater odds of depression. After observing roughly 70,000 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study and their diets, they found that adding sugars were strongly associated with depression.

Who doesn’t love chocolate, whether its a hershey bar or kit-kat. I could eat chocolate at any time of the day if someone offered it to me, except now I’m going to start second guessing whether a chocolate bar is what I need when I’m feeling down after reading this study. Dr. Beatrice Golomb, a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, conducted a study to determine the link between chocolate and depression. In the study she and her colleagues surveyed more than 900 people and their weekly chocolate consumption and their overall diet. They explored the question of whether depressed people eat more chocolate simply because they crave it, or if the consumption of chocolate itself causes depression. After observing the participants they found that the people who ate more chocolate were more depressed than those who ate less.

After researching about the link between eating sugar and depression, I have concluded that I will no longer turn to eating a bag of sour patch or eating a chocolate bar and instead will turn to foods with a low amount of sugar so that I won’t find myself feeling down the next day or causing myself depression.



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