What are the Effects of Sweet Foods on your Mental Health?

What are the Effects of Sweet Foods on your Mental Health?


3 minute read

We all love a good dessert after a hearty meal, but how are all of the cookies, chocolates, and cakes affecting our body in ways we can (or can’t) see?

 

The Pros & Cons of a Sweet Diet

We all know that loving sweet foods can be a slippery slope to go down, but why don’t we ever talk about the good things that a sugary pick-me-up can do for us? In moderation, of course.

 

The benefits of sweets on your mood

  1. Sugary foods are known to dampen your body’s ability to respond in stressful situations. So while they might not be great on the job, they’re the perfect addition to a relaxing night at home.

  2. When you eat something sweet, your brain’s rewards system is activated with a surge of dopamine. This hormone soothes the body, and works as our natural “happy juice”—athletes might enjoy that “runner’s high”, but why go through more effort than you have to? Just pop a chocolate chip cookie in your mouth and you’ll be good to go!

  3. Believe it or not, most sweet foods contain plenty of overlooked nutrients! Calcium, vitamin C, antioxidants, and that lovely little sugar rush packing a burst of energy.

 

The unwanted effects of sweet foods…

  1. The dreaded main consequence you face when eating too many sweets is, of course, weight gain. When uncontrolled, sugary foods will build up in your body and overstay their welcome like a bad house guest.

  2. While the sugar-high might feel great in the moment, the crash later is a sign that your blood sugar levels are going crazy. This destabilization can cause some serious issues down the road, which is why moderation of sugary foods is so important.

 

How to control your sweet tooth

Craving sugar is not simply a matter of habit, but behavior! And believe it or not, there are ways to keep your body from even wanting anything sweet.

Much like those moments when you crave comfort after a stressful situation, or a night out on the town after a breakup, environmental factors and your own behaviors can trigger a craving (or keep it at bay).

Here are some tips for avoiding the sweet cravings altogether:
  • Try as best you can to avoid stressful situations; high levels of anxiety or stress can trigger a need for comfort, often in the form of comfort foods if sweets are your weakness
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise daily, even if it’s only a quick walk around the block
  • Incorporate fruits into your daily diet
  • Make sure to get plenty of quality sleep

 

Sugar isn’t the devil!

It is not the end of the world if you indulge in a sweet every now and then; the key to incorporating any type of sugary snack into your diet is to do everything in moderation. Set rules for when you’ll allow yourself a sweet without the guilt, like dessert only on date night. Or a bit of caramel drizzle in your coffee!

Just remember, taking care of your mind and body is far more important than the brief satisfaction of a cheap chocolate bar.

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