Typically when we hear the word “diet” the usual reaction is to think about losing weight, however, today let's talk about "diet" as simply our daily food choices, the ones we often make without giving too much thought. The following info is taken from the American Counseling Association website, the “ACA Counseling Corner Blog”.
While our food choices certainly affect our weight, they also play an important role in our emotional well-being and overall mental health. Numerous studies have found that the foods we consume play a large role in how we feel and act.
Most parents, for example, have seen how a sugar high affects their kids. Although numerous studies have failed to find a link between sugar and hyperactivity, just about any mom will tell you that her son or daughter seems more excited or active after eating a sugary snack.
The reason may not be so much a physiological link as a psychological one. Eating foods we like makes us feel better, and most of us are genetically programmed to like sweet-tasting things. Our love of sweet tastes comes from our ancient ancestors who learned that sweet fruits and veggies were ripe and ready to eat.
Recent studies have found even more direct links between our food choices and mental health. A 2014 study of over 3,500 people reported that long-term exposure to an unhealthy diet, that is high in sugar and processed foods, appeared to increase the risk for depression.
Foods high in sugar and fat have also been cited as a risk factor leading to addictive eating. Sugar and fat trigger the same pleasure centers in the brain that addictive drugs do. The pleasurable feelings that come from eating such foods help relieve stress and cause people to overeat or even to binge eat.
Being more aware of your food choices and how they affect your moods and overall mental health can help lead to a healthier and happier you.
If you think your food choices are affecting your moods or well-being, and you’d like to find healthier coping strategies, consider working with your physician, a nutritionist and a Mental Health Counselor.
At Boca Behavioral Health, we welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with your other healthcare providers to offer a comprehensive treatment approach. Please contact Boca Behavioral Health at 561-961-9077 to schedule an appointment.