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Sugar Consumption: From Sugar Heaven to Depression Hell

Sugar consumption and its psychological effects

In my practice, I often notice clients are surprised when I ask about their dietary habits during anamnesis. The connection between body and mind is central in body psychotherapy, and nutrition plays a crucial role. Lately, the relationship between sugar consumption, chronic inflammation, and depression has gained increasing attention.

Table with churros and lots of icing sugar around it.

The Impact of Sugar on Mental Health

Studies have shown that high sugar intake can lead to inflammatory reactions in the body, negatively affecting health. Sugar impacts the production of serotonin, a critical neurotransmitter for mood and sleep regulation. Excessive sugar consumption can disrupt serotonin production, thereby increasing the risk of depression (Source: Mental Help).

An interdisciplinary study by the University of Duisburg-Essen revealed that the cytokine Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels rise during acute inflammation phases in the body and brain, correlating with depression symptoms. Higher IL-6 concentrations were associated with more severe depressive symptoms.

Chronic Inflammation as a Link

A 2019 meta-analysis, which examined over 13,000 depressed participants, found that 51% of individuals with depression had slightly elevated CRP levels compared to a healthy control group. This indicates a low-grade inflammation linked to depression.

Recommended Sugar Intake

The German Nutrition Society, the German Obesity Society, and the German Diabetes Society recommend that no more than one-tenth of daily calorie needs should come from free sugars. This corresponds to a maximum of 50 grams of sugar per day for a caloric need of about 2,000 calories.

Conclusion: Best to Avoid Sugar

Given the clear link between sugar consumption, chronic inflammation, and depression, it would be advisable to minimize sugar in the diet as much as possible. This approach can not only reduce the risk of inflammation and depression but also improve overall well-being. Body psychotherapy emphasizes the importance of a holistic view of the person, and nutrition is an essential part of this puzzle. By making conscious dietary choices, we support not only our physical but also our mental health.



Mental Help: Discussion on the impact of sugar on mental health.

Understandingly: Study by the University of Duisburg-Essen on the connection between IL-6 and depression.

Gesund.Bund: Recommendations on daily sugar intake.


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