By Magna Porterfield, Ph.D.
Sugar and the Brain
Over 100 years ago, a well-known health educator stated, “Sugar is not good for the stomach. It causes fermentation and this clouds the brain and brings peevishness (irritability, fretfulness) into the disposition.”
When I was being trained as a psychologist, the idea that sugar affects mental functioning was
Sugar and Psychological Disorders
There is evidence that sugar is a culprit in various psychological disorders. In one study, Dr.
Other experts state that refined sugar is linked with depression because it does not supply manynutrients and may also deplete B vitamins that are essential for proper nervous system functioning. In my work with depressed individuals, it was not uncommon for many of them to have sugar cravings and consume large amounts of refined sugar. They would often report that this made them “feel” better, at least temporarily. There is a physiological explanation for this – in short, sugar consumption is related to the synthesis of serotonin, which is a mood-regulating neurotransmitter. But, when refined sugar is ingested, the “feel good” effect is only short-lived because of other destructive mechanisms that take place thereafter (which we will not address in this article). This, in turn, makes the depressive symptoms worse. An interesting side note is that when I worked with individuals who had these sugar cravings, I would encourage them to consume omega-3 and many of them reported that their cravings decreased or eventually stopped.
In her book “Potatoes Not Prozac,” Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons purports that sugar can be
There is some scientific evidence that supports the hypothesis that sugar affects the brain as a drug. For
this diet (or administered an opioid blocker). 4
The Mind-Body Connection
As we can see, there is adequate support that we can enhance or impair our mental functioning
For those suffering from any type of mental or emotional disorder, removing refined sugar from