How Sugar Can Cause Depression and How Changing Some Small Things in Your Nutrition Can Change Your Mood.

     There are many factors that can cause depression. There can be circumstances such as death of a family member, marital difficulties or divorce, financial difficulties, hormones and general problems with brain chemistry. When your mood stays low for a longer time than just a ‘normal’ episode of the blues, it can be life altering.

     What I have found both personally and professionally is that the foods we eat or the foods that we are not eating cause nutritional deficits that negatively affect our mood. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in unhealthy refined carbohydrates which are another word for sugar. When we speak of a refined food it means taking that food from its natural state and turning it into one that has been modified to look better and to remove unwanted substances. In other words honey from the hive is a sugar that is in its natural state. White sugar has been refined. High fructose corn syrup has been ultra- refined. It has been processed so many times that the body cannot recognize it as food.

     When we ingest these refined sugars they wreak havoc in the body. One of the top symptoms is depression, anxiety, apathy, mental lethargy or in some hyperactivity.

     I encourage you to look at food labels to see what foods have these processed sugars called “Carbohydrates” on the charts.  The charts, by the way are purposely tricky to look at when deciphering the ingredients. Under the BOLD label of Carbohydrates are sub labels of “dietary fiber”, “soluble fiber”, “sugar” and “other carbohydrates”  (What are “other” carbohydrates? They never give you the definition). The Carbohydrates that are in boxed food are what my mother used to call “empty calories”, meaning there is nothing nutritious about them.

     Carbohydrates that are in raw fruits and vegetables have not been refined. When ingested, the body instantly and absolutely knows how to use the nutrition from these natural sources to repair, replenish and give energy to the body. It is a very simple and clean process when we eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

     Before I knew these facts we always had cereal in our cupboard. As a matter of fact when my children were babies I would put Cheerios into a baggy for their snacks. I thought the “Toasted ‘O’s” were healthy. Now I look at the label of Cheerios and see that in one cup of cereal there are 20grams of refined carbohydrates. An adult is only supposed to have 75 grams of carbohydrates for an entire day! So the amount should be less for children.

     Sugars (carbohydrates) take up the same place in the brain that opioids do. So when we start taking processed sugars out of our diet we experience withdrawals. The cravings can be very intense but usually only last 3 to 4 days. When patients who have been diligent in getting refined sugars out of their diet they report getting relief from the symptoms of depression, they also say that there energy is higher and they think much more clearly.

     There are many more benefits to removing refined sugar from your diet and we will write more on this in future blogs. If you would like help in taking sugar out of your diet we are here to answer any questions and support your journey. One of the whole food supplements that curb a craving for sugar is Gymnema. We have this available as an aid for you. Please feel free to contact us at any time for this and other help we can provide you. Be sure to contact the clinic at 707-455-8655 or email us at or stop by the clinic at 805 N. Lincoln St. Suite E, Dixon CA 95620