Continuing our brief tour through Kate Hefferon’s textbook on Positive Psychology and the Body, let’s flip open to the chapter on “Positive Nutrition.”
I wonder what science has to say about the impact of our diets on our wellbeing…
Guess where Kate starts her discussion?
She tells us: “Sugar has been a component within western diets since the sixteenth century. While 500 years ago, the average human would be lucky to come across sugar, it is estimated that today the average Westerner consumes 3 lb of sugar a week. Overall, our sugar consumption per year has risen from 5 lb per person, per year in 1700, to 152 lb per person in 2000. Recent research has found evidence that sugar, while not only bad for our waistlines, can have deleterious effects on our brain. Sugar has been found to shrink areas responsible for important functions such as memory and mood regulation, wearing on the hippocampus.”
We’ve talked about this before but let’s pause and contemplate that math one more time.
500 years ago? Basically NO SUGAR.
(Pause, reflect on that. Pretty please. With sugar not on top?)
Then, 300 years ago, we were consuming about 5 lbs of sugar.
Today the average Westerner consumes 150 lbs of sugar every year.
Millions of years of evolution. Close to zero consumption of sugar. Now 150 POUNDS of sugar on average EVERY YEAR.
I wonder if that might have any negative consequences?
Back to Kate who tells us that researchers “conducted a cross-national study (Korea, USA, France, Germany, Canada, New Zealand) on the relationship between sugar consumption and incidence of major depression. They found that ‘there was a highly significant correlation between sugar consumption (cal/cap/day) and the annual rate of depression.’ While this study has some major limitations, it highlights the importance of re-assessing the manufacturing of processed food and the role of sugar within our diets.”
One more time: It does a mind and body bad.
Not only does it mess with our insulin/metabolism and lead to a lot of the crippling, chronic BODY diseases we’re dealing with as a society, it also wreaks havoc on our MINDS and leads to a lot of the crippling psychological challenges we’re dealing with as a society.
I can’t think of a more powerful lever to Optimize our nutrition than getting really smart on how much sugar we’re consuming and having fun seeing just how much we can eliminate.
How much sugar are YOU consuming these days?
Note: It’s ubiquitous and probably a LOT more than you think…
Here’s to the -1 -1 -1 for the +1 +1 +1 wins.