Why Comfort Foods May Be Discomforting For Your Brain, From A Nutritional Psychiatrist

As a nutritional psychiatrist, I’ve seen time and time again how excess added sugars, artificial sweeteners, fried foods, and processed foods can dull mood and drive anxiety. There is strong evidence that a poor diet, and higher sugar intake, is associated with mental health issues.

Think of it as a domino effect. You feel sad and you eat a cookie. It’s a food high in simple carbohydrates and it increases insulin levels and allows more tryptophan (the natural amino acid building block for serotonin) to enter the brain, where it is converted to serotonin. The calming effect of serotonin can take effect in twenty minutes or less by eating these foods—so you do feel good! Because of that good feeling, you may reach for another cookie. And the cycle repeats.

The blood sugar rollercoaster can lead to inflammation in the body, which then creates inflammation in the brain and may lead to fatigue, anxiety, and even depression.

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