The Effect of Sugar on Your Mood

>> Sunday

I've seen studies showing that sugar doesn't produce hyperactivity in children, but it does something to us all. Eating refined sugar — table sugar and corn syrup in particular — raises your blood sugar level (glucose) very quickly.

In one study, some people had panic attacks merely from an infusion of glucose (blood sugar). In another study, people were given 100 milligrams of glucose as a drink. In anxiety-prone people the lactate level in their blood was considerably higher than in the other participants, and it stayed higher for five hours! (Lactate all by itself can produce feelings of anxiety. Lactate is the byproduct of burning blood sugar.)

In several studies on people with anxiety problems, a simple injection of glucose into the blood stream caused symptoms of anxiety. It does not cause that result with most people. But everyone is different, and some people tend to produce more lactate than others, or they clear it out of their system slower than others, and this makes them prone to anxiety.

If lactate produces anxiety, and if lactate is produced by burning glucose, then it makes sense that a rise in blood sugar would tend to produce anxiety.

Around the world, people consume far more carbohydrates than our bodies evolved to deal with. Why? Because it's cheap, it's filling, and it tastes great. But it has side-effects. Especially for people who are prone to stress or anxiety.

So if you have more anxiety or worry than you want, this is something to think about. Try lowering your blood sugar by eating significantly less sugar and see what happens.

Adam Khan is the author of Slotralogy and co-author with Klassy Evans of What Difference Does It Make?: How the Sexes Differ and What You Can Do About It.

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