June 11, 2004
| Stress and Anxiety
Sugar Causes High Anxiety
Sugar is one of the most overused foods in the
Western world. It’s in desserts, cereals, salad dressings, ketchup,
relishes, gum, and certainly in candy. If you eat foods made with
white flour, what you get is the action of simple sugars in your
body. And if you consume great quantities of sugar products, you
may trigger a hypoglycemic episode. Sometimes that feels like a
full-blown anxiety attacktrembling, disorientation, light-headedness,
palpitations, and even migraine headaches.
Here’s the sequence of physical events that occurs
when you put large amounts of sugar into your body in a short period
If, at this point, you eat a piece of chocolate
for comfort, you start the entire cycle over again.
And if you consistently eat a diet of refined carbohydrates, you
may develop not only hypoglycemia but a cluster of related problems.
Over time, a high intake of refined carbohydrates also leads to
glucose intolerance, diminished insulin sensitivity (which also
plays a role in weight control), high blood pressure and elevated
cholesterol levels. This aggregate of serious conditions puts you
at high risk for heart disease.
The diet antidote for hypoglycemia
But here’s the good news. You can easily solve
this problem by switching to a diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrate
foods combined with protein and oil to stop your stomach from emptying
food too quickly. This healthy combination of food is broken down
and absorbed more slowly than refined carbohydrates, giving you
the energy benefits without the anxiety.
Shoot for 50 grams of fiber in your daily diet
from legumes, oat bran, nuts, seeds, pears, apples, and most vegetables.
(A 1978 study showed that apple pectin and oat bran have a positive
effect on blood glucose levels.) And try eating frequent, small
meals rather than one or two large ones each day.
Here’s an example. In the middle of the afternoon,
when you would have had that Snickers bar, try tuna and a little
canola oil mayonnaise on a rice cake. Later in the evening, before
you reach for those peanut M&Ms, have almond butter on a cracker.
Or eat a banana or apple slices with a little sesame butter (tahini).
Several studies have shown that eating fruit decreases the amount
of calories and fat a person consumes. These combinations will give
you the boost you seek without the emotional roller coaster.
Obviously, avoid white flour, sugar, fruit
juice, and even honey or maple syrup, which will make it difficult
to bring your blood sugar under control. Don’t replace sugar with
aspartame; the sugar substitute increases your appetite and can
cause anxiety symptoms. And avoid alcohol. It induces hypoglycemia
by interfering with glucose utilization and increasing insulin secretion,
which results in a drop in blood sugar.
Read More on Anxiety and Stress:
Systems in the Body Affected by Anxiety
Quiz: How Balanced are Your Neurotransmitters?
Keep it SIMPLE tip Think Good Thoughts
Restore Your Ability to Manage Stress
with a Stress-Reducing Diet
Restore Your Ability to Manage
Stress with Stress-Reducing Supplements
Reduce Stress with Reflexology
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