Centuries ago, the only reason for humans to have a sweet tooth was so that we would be naturally attracted to nutrient rich fruits. As time went on, and eventually sugar was able to be refined the whole game changed. Suddenly were attracted to empty foods for no reason other than sugar itself. While it may satisfy the cravings, this refined sugar isnt the real deal. Its been called the reason for the current obesity epidemic, and is certainly a factor in the development of diabetes as well. While numerous health concerns continue to arise in regard to refined sugar, and the even more thoroughly processed high fructose corn syrup, we do little as a society to change our ways. If it wasnt bad enough that these hollow sweeteners affect our physical health to such a degree, new research shows a link to mental illness as well.
The British Journal of Psychiatry has published a cross-cultural analysis and found strong ties between refined sugar consumption and mental illness. Higher national usage of refined sugar was linked to higher diagnoses of depression and schizophrenia. This could be because sugar suppresses growth hormones in the brain that maintain the health of neurons, and triggers the growth of new connections between said neurons which is vital in memory function. Refined sugar consumption has also been known to increase inflammation, which can lead to higher risk of diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Its actually surprising that these links werent discovered sooner.
Dr. Stephen Ilardi Ph. D., who is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, has recommended his depression patients to remove high sugar foods from their diets even if just for a few weeks. He stated that many who have tried this have had significant improvements in their moods, energy, and mental clarity.
NCBI PubMed.gov (1)
NCBI PubMed.gov (2)