Can a High-Sugar Diet Cause Mental Health Problems?

high-sugar diet may cause mental health problems

We are aware that sugar-rich diet increases our chances of gaining weight. If you have problems with your teeth, sugars might be one of the causes. But, how does high sugar intake influence our mental health?

If you struggle to resist doughnuts, and you feel down all the time, sugar could be the cause of your sadness. Some scientists report that high-sugar diet may cause mental health problems.

Recommended Sugar Intake

The amount of sugar you take on a daily basis should not exceed 10% of the total calories you consume every day. This recommendation comes from The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, a research conducted between 2005 and 2010 found that people older than 20 received 13% of their daily calorie-intake from sugars.

The foods responsible for such a high percentage are: ice cream, candies, cookies, cakes and sweetened beverages. We all know about the metabolic conditions that may come from a high-sugar diet, but how does it affect our mental health?

High-Sugar Diet and Mental Health

An increased risk of depression may occur if your diet is rich in sugars. The reason for sugar-induced depression might be reverse causation. This means that a preexisting mental health condition may lead to higher sugar intake.

However, several studies have confirmed there is a link between high-sugar diet and depression, or even schizophrenia. According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, eating sugar and fat-rich foods reduces the amount of a key growth hormone which affects memory and learning. And those who suffer from depression and schizophrenia have lower levels of this hormone.

The bottom line is that if you consume up to 67g of sugar a day over a period of 5 years, the risk for developing depression may be much higher for you.


It is advisable to moderate your sugar intake because excessive consumption might lead to serious health problems. Besides the negative effects on your immune system, high-sugar diet may cause mental health problems.

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