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The modern American diet is extremely overloaded with unhealthy sugars. According to government statistics, about 13% of adults' daily calories come from added sugar. About two-thirds (67%) of added sugars come from food; the other third (33%) from beverages. Sugar (i.e. white sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses and other caloric sweeteners) is one of the primary ingredients in soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and hidden in almost all processed foods—from bologna to pretzels to sauces and cheese spreads.
No wonder we have become an unhealthy, overweight, overly anxious and stressed country!
So, is sugar the biggest foe to an anxiety sufferer? You bet! Refined sugar is the biggest enemy we have in our diet, especially for the exceedingly anxious and stressed person. A sugar-heavy diet is not the sole cause of anxiety, but it is definitely a contributing factor to changes in body processes that can make anxiety symptoms worse or can induce panic attacks. Too much sugar in the diet causes blood sugar to spike and then plummet, which is the worst thing you can do for your body. Sugar is a thief that also silently robs us from the nutrients that are needed to cope with stress and anxiety. We’ve said it before, and we will say it again—a good base of nutrients and a clean diet is needed for anxiety relief.
If you are an anxiety sufferer, consider the following:
- Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body and drains your body from proper nutrients. It causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium as well as depletes your body from B vitamins—all are important for anxiety relief.
- Sugar can cause tight, tense muscles anywhere in the body. If you’ve experienced stress or even an anxiety attack, you know how the tension of tight muscles can feel, so you don’t want to make it worse by eating too much sugar.
- Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children (and adults more gradually over time). Who needs that constant “sugar rush” feeling that affects are emotional and mental state?
- Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia. Glucose – and the insulin released to counter glucose—can cause fatigue, trouble thinking, blurry vision, general ill feeling, and terrible mood swings.
- Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves that can alter your mind's ability to think clearly and sleep properly.
- Worst of all, sugar ruins your entire health—feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach; produces a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol; causes many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis; and many more illnesses. Of course, experiencing consistent problems with your health can surely keep you feeling anxious and stressed.
Maintaining a healthier diet is the key to many health problems. A healthy diet will improve your body's ability to cope with stress. Many anxiety sufferers have found that slowly removing sugar from their diet has reduced their overall anxiety levels. Still not convinced? Try removing sugar from your diet and carefully observe changes in your mental, emotional, and physical state.
Remember, the added bonus of cutting down on refined sugars is possible weight loss, which is can definitely increase your emotional well-being.
Are you an anxiety sufferer who eats a lot of sugar? What steps are you willing to take or have you taken to reduce sugar in your diet?