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Old Mon, May-24-21, 13:15
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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Default Sugar May Be Stealing Your Happiness

Something to keep in mind. It might help keep us "on the horse."

Sugar isn’t just a cause of metabolic disease. Mental health is another casualty
  • Most people consider sugar risks as limited to physical health problems such as obesity or tooth decay.
  • Sugar intake is increasingly linked to poor mental health.
  • Sugar shows addictive properties, causes unhealthy microbiome changes, and may harm brain function.

Sugar May Be Stealing Your Happiness

It makes complete sense that high blood sugar -- part of Alzheimer's, aka Diabetes III -- would have bad effects on mood as well as memory. This is something I keep in mind for myself, because a few minutes of taste bud fun is not worth even a few minutes of despair or panic.

Although most of the research attention given to sugar in recent years centers on its metabolic disease effects, there is also now a large scientific literature demonstrating adverse sugar effects on mental health. This is counterintuitive to many. Sugar may seem like an obvious contributor to negative health effects such as tooth decay and weight gain, for instance, yet we stereotypically associate sugar with positive emotional effects from sources such as desserts, birthday parties, and holidays. Similarly, many people turn specifically to sugary foods to lift their negative moods and manage stress. How can these widespread celebratory practices and intimate comfort food experiences with sugar be wrong?

I think that last sentence really nails the central dilemma. "Treats" seem to be about the good times, the good feelings, even the dopamine hitting our brain and -- temporarily -- making us feel better. It's an avalanche of coping strategies that we might never realize just how much it also created problems for us.

I try to keep the problems front and center in my ways of turning away temptations.

Neuroscience explains how sugar can simultaneously make us happy and unhappy. At the neurochemical level, sugar induces short-term feelings of reward and desire by increasing the action of an important neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine has many effects, among them the ability to induce temporary increases in pleasure chemicals such as endorphins and endocannabinoids. This means that our personal associations of improved mood and stress relief when eating sugary foods are real but fleeting.

This was another section I really liked:

5. Replacing happiness with pleasure. Imagine that pleasure (dopamine) and satisfaction (serotonin) sit on a happiness seesaw in your brain. Among people with higher levels of life satisfaction, their lifestyle and neurochemistry are usually skewed to the right; a lot of quality interpersonal connection, rewarding forms of contribution, and meaningful work, play, and community roles are “balanced” with occasional simple pleasures. For modern Americans, however, the skew is more often to the left; lifestyles consisting of lots of simple pleasures and very little of the stuff that creates gratitude, joy, or contentment.

I'm going to try to keep on "skewing to the right"
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