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Sugar and anxiety are connected in surprising ways

 

There are some things you know are going to make your anxiety worse: WebMDing your stomach ache, foregoing sleep to list all the ways your work presentation could go wrong, calling your friend who freaks out about everything…But treating yourself to a scoop of Rocky Road or a cupcake from your favorite bakery, that’s going to make you feel better right?

Sometimes, 100 percent yes. But other times, that sweet treat can backfire, sneakily causing all sorts of changes that can lead to the opposite of feeling good: anxiety. Here, health experts break down the relationship between sugar and anxiety, and what you can do to combat it.

How are sugar and anxiety related?

The problem with sugar, says hormone health educator Candace Burch, is that it causes blood sugar spikes and drops, which directly affects mood. “The rush of sugar leads to sugar highs, giving a lot of energy, but then the lows lead to feeling sluggish and down.”

“Sugar can exacerbate your feelings of anxiety because of the way our bodies respond to digesting them,” adds Brigitte Zeitlin, RD, owner of BZ Nutrition, a New York-based nutrition practice. “[Sugary foods] cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop faster than they would after eating non-high-sugar-foods. This quick spike and drop causes you to feel uneasy and can even at times mimic a panic attack.” Having low blood sugar levels can actually put the body into a stress response, which, as Zeitlin mentions, can increase anxiety.

Our bodies obviously don’t like being stressed or anxious, says Zeitlin. People combat that in various ways, including reaching for sugary foods. “Foods high in sugar trigger the release of serotonin, which is a feel good hormone,” Zeitlin says. “We are trained to eat sugar and feel good, which makes it understandable why people stress eat, because they just want to feel better when they are feeling stressed and anxious.”

However, when your body is stressed or anxious, you also have higher levels of cortisol (a.k.a. the “stress hormone”). Zeitlin says when this happens, your body suppresses the release of insulin, the hormone that takes up glucose to use for energy. You now have a one-two punch of spiked blood sugar levels (since you’re eating more sugar to combat your stress) and storing excess sugar as fat since you’re not turning it into energy. “So, eating more sugar when you are stressed or anxious just amplifies the amount of sugar your body would naturally have already flowing, and contributes to more severe drops in blood sugar and more drastic drops in your mood,” she says. Enter a cycle of turning to something sweet every time they need another energy and mood boost, and a subsequent rollercoaster of ups and downs which can also contribute to feelings of anxiety.

This sugar-and-anxiety cycle isn’t just relegated to the daytime hours. “High-sugar foods can keep you up because of their energy that prevents your natural stress-booster of sleep from kicking in,” Zeitlin says. “When we don’t get enough sleep we feel even more anxious and stressed because our body missed an opportunity to process it properly.” You’re now going into the next day with less sleep, and thus lower energy levels and higher stress levels. And what do many people reach for to combat stress and anxiety? You guessed it: sugar.

And “high-sugar foods” doesn’t just mean candy, cookies, and cake. “Studies have found that women who eat more refined carbohydrates (baked goods, candy, white breads/rice/cereals, bagels, etc) were more likely to suffer from depression and mood swings because of the drastic peaks and deeps in blood sugar levels,” Zeitlin says.

How to keep sugar from contributing to anxiety

Of course, this isn’t just to freak you out and make you throw out all of the dairy-free ice cream in the fridge. Lots of other things can contribute to anxiety, including stress, coffee, work, and even family relationships—so cutting out Oreos isn’t the magic bullet for reducing anxiety. But the impact of sugar on anxiety levels can affect anyone, says Zeitlin—and if you have an existing anxiety disorder, sugary foods will likely exacerbate your condition, she adds.

One way to combat this is certainly to reduce your sugar intake, including processed foods and breads. It’s also a good idea to load up on foods low in sugar and high in fiber (think veggies, fruit like berries, and whole grains)—Zeitlin says they have a much more even effect on your blood sugar, which can help cut back on feelings of “increased anxiety.” She also recommends stopping eating about two hours before you go to sleep. “This gives your body time to properly digest and process the food—sugary or not—and let that energy subside in time for you to actually fall asleep and stay asleep.”

When you are eating foods higher in sugar, Burch suggests pairing it with foods higher in fiber and healthy fats. “This slows the absorption of sugar, preventing it from spiking blood sugar as much,” she says, and thus making it less likely to put you in an anxiety spiral.

But all this comes with a big caveat: Changing one’s diet shouldn’t be the only thing a person does to fight back against anxiety. “Changing your diet to limit high-sugar foods will not treat or cure your anxiety disorder, but it will help manage it better and optimize the times you are feeling good and less anxious,” says Zeitlin. Psychologist Gail Saltz, PhD, says some ways to reduce anxiety not related to food include deep breathing, working out, and (to bring it all full circle) getting enough sleep. If none of these lifestyle changes are helping, it’s essential to see a professional to help you come up with a treatment plan.

“Sugary foods contribute to mood swings and anxiety. Period,” Zeitlin says. And now that you understand the connection, it’ll be easier to be more mindful when you are consuming foods with sugar in them.

Additional reporting by Jessie Van Amburg.

If you want to cut out sugar completely but don’t know how, here’s some tips. And if your anxiety is worst in the morning, this could be why.

By: Emily Laurence

 

Source: Sugar and anxiety are connected in surprising ways | Well+Good

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I’ve Lost 15 Pounds on the Noom Diet App, and Here’s What I Eat in a Day

I’m a fitness editor, and I live a pretty healthy lifestyle — I exercise five to six days a week, eat a whole-foods-based diet, and get at least seven hours of sleep a night — but in January of this year, I found my weight creeping up on the higher end of what I find comfortable. I’ve struggled to keep weight off my whole life, and thanks to my bipolar II medication, general stress, and love of happy hour, this has only gotten harder as I’ve gotten older.

I also have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which means I need to be careful with my weight: women with PCOS are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance (and women with PCOS have a harder time losing weight, which makes this all a fun cycle).

All of that being said: I wanted to check out the Noom weight-loss app to see if it could help me shed some pounds and get back on track with a healthy lifestyle. Created with the help of registered dietitians and other experts, the Noom app aims to not only help you lose weight, but also change your behaviors and reevaluate the thought processes behind the decisions you make. Each day includes new articles on topics such as portion control, staying motivated, identifying your social triggers, and how to decode a restaurant menu.

Noom also includes a daily calorie target, which adjusts based on how much activity you got that day (you manually log your exercise or sync up to your Fitbit or Apple Watch). One of my favorite features of Noom is the comprehensive food log where you type in what you ate and track your daily calories. If your food isn’t in Noom’s database, you can manually add the nutrition information. It also provides a color-coded breakdown of your food based on how calorie-dense they are: green (fruits, veggies, most whole grains, complex carbs), yellow (lean meats, starches, eggs), and red (typically processed junk food but also healthy calorie-dense foods like oils and nuts). You are supposed to aim to eat as many green and yellow foods as possible and limit your red foods to 25 percent or less of your diet.

The biggest adjustment for me was keeping track of everything I ate. Sure, I eat a pretty well-balanced diet, but I’m often tempted by treats in the work kitchen or all of the tasty snacks sent to my office. After hours, it’s easy for me to let one glass of wine turn to three and get carried away with the free chips and salsa. Signing up for Noom really helped me figure out where I tend to overeat and track the true size of a healthy portion: 1/4 cup of almonds is a good-sized snack. Half a bag is not.

After four months on Noom, I’m down 15 pounds! Not as fast as I would have liked, but I do realize that slow and steady wins the race. I didn’t do anything radical aside from read the Noom articles, log my food, work out, and pay attention to my daily calorie budget. Although every day is different for me food-wise, here is an example of what a typical day of eating looks like.

What I Eat in a Day on Noom

My daily calorie target depends on how much activity I’ve done that day. If I’ve worked out and walked 10,000 steps, my calories will be closer to 1,500-1,600 a day. If I skipped a workout and laid on the couch all day (hello, hungover Sundays), my calorie target is closer to 1,200-1,300 a day. Here is an example of a day where I had a moderate workout:

Breakfast: protein smoothie (430 calories)

  • 1 scoop Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Chocolate Shake (170 calories)
  • 1/2 banana (52 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon Perfect Keto Pure MCT Oil (130 calories)
  • 1.25 cup 365 Organic Almond Milk Unsweetened (50 calories)
  • 1 cup baby spinach (7 calories)
  • 3 flowerets of raw cauliflower (9 calories)
  • 3 giant frozen strawberries (12 calories)

Lunch: breaded chicken breast with quinoa and broccoli (405 calories)

  • 3 ounces chicken breast (175 calories)
  • 1/4 serving 365 Everyday Value Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs (25 calories)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (40 calories)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (111 calories)
  • 1 cup roasted broccoli (54 calories)

Afternoon snack: almonds and collagen water (180 calories)

  • 17 Blue Diamond Gourmet Almonds, Rosemary and Sea Salt (120 calories)
  • Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water, Strawberry Lemon (60 calories)

Dinner: baked salmon with quinoa and broccoli (397 calories)

  • 3 ounces cooked salmon (195 calories)
  • 1/2 cooked quinoa (111 calories)
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli (55 calories)
  • 1 pat of butter (36 calories)

Daily total calories: 1,412

Food Color Breakdown

Image source: Noom app

On this day, I did a pretty good job of loading up on mostly green foods, a nice amount of yellow foods, and limiting my red foods. I know some of my diet staples are red (like MCT oil and almonds), but I’m going to keep eating them — I just pay attention to the portion sizes.

The Takeaway

I tend to eat the same things over and over, which is one way people find weight-loss success: it takes the guesswork out of having to plan so many meals each week. I also try and meal prep on Sundays, and on this particular day, I made big batches of quinoa in the rice cooker and broccoli (both steamed and oven-roasted) to last for lunches and dinners. I also baked breaded chicken breasts for lunch and salmon fillets for dinner to get my protein in.

My protein smoothie can sometimes be my biggest meal of the day. I make a calorie-dense smoothie like this after my big morning workout to refuel my body and keep me full well until my late lunch. Sometimes I need to supplement with a mid-morning snack, but most days I’m satisfied until 2 p.m. or so.

If I have a day where I know I’m going to be getting drinks after work or want to make room for a delicious chocolate chip cookie from the break room, I make adjustments in my diet the rest of the day. Maybe I’ll skip the MCT oil in my smoothie or forgo an afternoon snack. Sometimes I’ll trade in my quinoa at lunch for double the veggies or leave out the butter on top. Every little tweak or adjustment counts toward my daily calorie target. And while I didn’t reach for something sweet after dinner on this day, I usually have some type of dessert each day that’s less than 100 calories: a square of dark chocolate or a dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe’s.

I have never felt deprived doing Noom and I always listen to my hunger cues. Noom has really opened my eyes to what an accurate portion size is and how to plan your meals around your daily calorie target. I still have a little ways to go to hit my goals, but tracking everything in Noom makes it a little easier.

 

 

Source: I’ve Lost 15 Pounds on the Noom Diet App, and Here’s What I Eat in a Day

Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: how to Naturally Boost your Health (and more!)

Vitamins and Minerals (also known as Micronutrients)are important substances that allow your body to function and stay healthy. If you already have a balanced diet, you probably do not need to take them as supplements, and yet in some cases people should. This article is the result of a collaboration with Annalisa Brigo, a Nutrition […]

via Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: how to Naturally Boost your Health (and more!) [Collaboration Post]. — THE PHYSIO FORMULA

What Happens When You Drink a Gallon of Water a Day?

I am that person who hates drinking water. Where others enjoy a satisfying thirst quencher, I suffer through a barrage of sulfur, algae, swimming pool, and old metal pipes. Most days I avoid the issue entirely, subsisting on coffee, herbal tea, and the occasional LaCroix. But a few months ago, I began to suspect that chronic dehydration was the reason I continually felt tired and achy. So, in an effort to overcompensate my way to better life habits, I decided to slosh through a feat known across the internet as the Water Gallon Challenge…..

Source: What Happens When You Drink a Gallon of Water a Day?

Iron deficiency: 6 Signs You’re Low In Iron

Low iron is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world, and is the only nutrient deficiency that is significantly prevalent in the western world, according to the World Health Organization. A staggering 2 billion people (that’s over 30 per cent of the world’s population) are thought to suffer from some degree of iron deficiency. And it’s especially common in women, specifically those of childbearing age. So chances are, you’re low in it too………

Source: 6 signs you’re low in iron

How Bloomingdale’s Is Reinventing The Beauty Shopping Experience

Department stores are in the battle for their lives. Classed in the category of general merchandise stores in Census Department’s Monthly Retail Trade Survey, department stores, excluding discounters, shrunk 2.1% year-over-year through October 2018, as compared to the entire general merchandise category, which posted healthy 3.5% growth. In the last ten years, department stores have experienced a massive 30% drop in sales…….

Source: How Bloomingdale’s Is Reinventing The Beauty Shopping Experience

No Excuses Body Makeover Membership (view mobile)

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Are You Tired Of Waking Up To A Body That Now Robs You Daily Of The VITALITY And SENSE OF WELL-BEING That Once Came Without Effort?  I’m About To Reveal To You The REAL Reason That Getting Into Shape Is Near Impossible For Most Of  Us – And Then Offer To Show You How To Reliably RESHAPE Your Body, RECLAIM Your Health, And Finally Take Back The Life You DESERVE. The Good News? You’ve Just Stumbled Onto The Culmination Of More Than 30 YEARS Of Experience In The Fitness Profession – Time I Have Spent Teaching Others How To Get Into Peak Physical Shape WITHOUT Having To Diet Or Otherwise Deprive Oneself Of Life’s Simple Pleasures. With “No Excuses” You’ll Discover How To Master Both Your MIND And Your BODY To Achieve A Truly Enviable State Of Health That Most People Will Never Experience In The Latter Part Of Their Lives. But With This Program You’ll Do Exactly That…Read more

Bodybyboyle Online Strength And Conditioning Service

If you are at all interested in fitness or strength and conditioning, you know who Mike Boyle is. For three decades Strength Coach Mike Boyle has been at the forefront of the profession, working with a wide range of athletes and clients. From middle school, to the pros, to busy adults who want to be in the best shape of their lives, Mike has delivered results over the years that have made him one of the top presenters at seminars around the world, the author of several published books and DVDs that have shaped the industry, and owner of the Number 1 Gym in America by Men’s Health Magazine. The fitness world changes continuously so you need to always be learning the latest strategies and techniques to produce the best results. Now you can have access to everything that has made Mike Boyle so successful, on demand, right in front of you. And by everything……..Read more

The Best Teas For Energy Digestion Sleep & More – Natalie Rizz

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Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world (next to water), according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. While coffee drinking overshadows tea consumption in the United States, the Tea Association of the U.S.A. reports that 80 percent of American households have some form of tea in the cupboard, and more than 159 million Americans drink it on a daily basis. With these impressive stats, it’s no wonder that new brands of tea and tea blends are constantly popping up on store shelves. A quick Google search for ‘types of teas’ returns……..

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/best-teas-energy-digestion-sleep-more-ncna904416

 

 

 

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Fit In My 40s You Could Do a Workout Using Only Your Body & Resistance Bands – The Guardian

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The first thing you need for a home workout is a really tidy house. I’m not remotely house proud, but I can’t do even half a sit-up if I can see an empty yoghurt pot under the sofa (and I always can). So while, in theory, learning how to get fit under your own steam and using your own accessories removes your single biggest impediment to becoming your best self, in reality you have to become a better self before you start. Do not skimp on a mat: I roamed around the house for days thinking if I just lit upon the best rug, I would be fine……….

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/27/fit-in-my-40s-you-could-do-a-workout-using-only-your-body-and-resistance-bands

 

 

 

 

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