sugar

Effect of Carbohydrate Intake on Depression

Effect of Carbohydrate Intake on Depression

By Laura Sheehan

I was never formally diagnosed with depression and I have never taken depression medication, but I can attest to the effect that altering my carbohydrate intake had on my depression symptoms. In short, I am cured of my symptoms when I avoid refined white sugar, and my symptoms return when I begin to consume refined white sugar again.

Research by Akbaraly et al.1 concluded that a processed-food based diet is associated with increased risk for depression while a whole food based diet is protective. In another older study 2, nondepressed individuals were found to consume more protein relative to carbohydrates, but in depressed individuals, it was the other way around.

So does this mean that high carbohydrate diets are associated in general with increased risk for depression? Recent research has revealed that depression is more a result of systemic inflammation than a chemical deficiency in the brain.3 Because of the inflammatory effect of high blood glucose 4, one can conclude that eating too much sugar and carbohydrates cause depression.

Many nutrition textbooks state that carbohydrate intake should be no lower than 50-100 grams per day. 5 It is my clinical experience that lowering carbohydrate intake in general to these levels can have a positive impact on mood and help individuals with depression.

References

    • 1. Akbaraly TN, Brunner EJ. Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2009;195(05):408-413. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.108.058925.
    2. Christensen L, Somers S. Comparison of nutrient intake among depressed and nondepressed individuals. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 1996;20(1):105-109. doi:10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199607)20:1<105::aid-eat12>3.0.co;2-3.
    3. Leonard B, Maes M. Mechanistic explanations how cell-mediated immune activation, inflammation and oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways and their sequels and concomitants play a role in the pathophysiology of unipolar depression. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2012;36(2):764-785. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.12.005.
    4. Dandona P, Ghanim H. A. Insulin infusion suppresses while glucose infusion induces Toll-like receptors and high-mobility group-B1 protein expression in mononuclear cells of type 1 diabetes patients. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2013;304(8). doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00566.2012.
    5. Insel P, Ross D. Carbohydrates. In: Nutrition. 6th ed. Burlington, MA. Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2016: 138-171.

Feeling Stopped Up?

Most people know that regular bowel function is imperative for proper detoxification of the body and disease prevention. Sometimes, though, we forget the little things that help with constipation.

Here they are:

  1. Are you drinking enough water? People need about half their weight in ounces per day of water i.e.: a 160 pound woman needs about 80 ounces water. You’ll need extra if you drink diuretics such as coffee. Adequate water intake helps with bowel function, kidney function, and lubricates the joints. Drink your prescribed amount of water for about 2 weeks to see the full effect.  Some people say they don’t like water. This is a sign that your body is not detoxifying correctly- all the more reason to drink water! Adding a little lemon juice to the water usually makes it more palatable to drink.
  2. Are you eating enough fiber? To make sure you are eating enough fiber, eat 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of veggies per day. This amounts to 2 medium size salads, and 2 apples for snacks, or the equivalent. Raw or cooked veggies are fine.
  3. When these steps fail, try eating 3-6 soaked prunes each morning. Just take 3-6 organic, unsulfured prunes, put them in a bowl, and cover them with water the night before. Eat them in the morning.

When these steps fail, it means there is another underlying cause of your constipation. A correctly performed Nutrition Response Testing exam will find the underlying cause.

Let's get Going!

Constipation: 4 Simple Steps

Most people know that regular bowel function is imperative to proper detoxification of the body, and disease prevention.  Sometimes we forget the little things that help with constipation, though.  Here they are:

  1. Are you drinking enough water? People need about half their weight in ounces per day of water i.e.: a 160 pound woman needs about 80 ounces water.  You’ll need extra if you drink diuretics such as coffee.  Adequate water intake helps with bowel function, kidney function, and lubricates the joints.  Drink your prescribed amount of water for about 2 weeks to see the full effect.  Some people say they don’t like water; this is a sign that your body is not detoxifying correctly,–all the more reason to drink water!  If this is the case, though, adding a little lemon juice to the water usually makes it more palatable to drink.
  2. Are you eating enough fiber? To make sure you are eating enough fiber, make sure to eat 2 servings of fruit, and 3 servings of veggies per day.  This amounts to 2 medium size salads, and 2 apples for snacks, or the equivalent.  Raw or cooked veggies are fine.
  3. If the first two steps don’t work, try eating 3-6 soaked prunes each morning. Just take 3-6 organic, unsulfured prunes, put them in a bowl, and cover them in water the night before. In the morning, eat them.
  4. Walk at least 1 mile each day. The gentle massaging motion of walking keeps the contents of the gut moving in the right direction.

When these steps fail, it means there is another underlying cause of your constipation.  A correctly performed Nutrition Response Testing exam will find the underlying cause.

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water

Drink More Water

The cheapest, easiest cure—try it!

Could it be that the cures that work best are the simplest and cheapest? This is definitely true when it comes to water. Talk to almost anyone, and they will say they are not drinking enough. I have heard Dr. Sheehan say that 80% of the low back pain cases he sees in the office are dehydrated, and drinking water will help reduce the pain. EIGHTY PERCENT!! Dr. Sheehan said of another patient, what tipped him off that he was dehydrated, was that his body and muscle aches increased. Other symptoms of chronic dehydration include blood pressure disturbances, headaches, tiredness, allergies, digestive problems, depression, irritability, and brain fog. Any of these sound familiar?

There is an easy fix to this…just drink more water! Ask either me or Dr. Sheehan to test how much water you should be drinking a day. And then try it for two weeks…that will give your body enough time to normalize and handle the symptoms. It’s worth a shot, right? I can’t think of an easier or cheaper way to fix a health problem. So try it!

Sources:

http://www.rodalenews.com/chronic-dehydration

http://symptomsofdehydration.net/chronic_dehydration/chronic_dehydration.html

Unfortunately, I have still been slacking on my diet log. I am continuing to avoid sugar and fruit, and bread 95% of the time. And I try to eat vegetables three times per day, and in between meals I snack on nuts. To make up for my lack of diet log, here is what I had for breakfast:

Sausage and veggie frittata (using leftovers)

4 chicken sausages, cooked and sliced

1/2 onion

8 mushrooms

2 handfuls baby spinach

5 eggs, whisked

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a cast-iron skillet, saute the onion and mushroom in olive oil or butter until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken sausage and heat. Add the eggs and mix well.

Let it cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes until the outside of the frittata starts to firm up. Then transfer to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until the frittata is firm all the way through. Enjoy!

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