Is SAD making us sad?
It may be the case. There is emerging evidence that the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is low in fiber and high in sugar and saturated fats, may initiate the inflammatory processes that leads to chronic illness, including worsened mental health.
The harmful effects of our nutritionally depleted food are widespread. Children struggle with intellectual development, ADHD, and behavioral problems. More and more adults suffer from panic attacks, crippling depression, cognitive decline, and chronic disease. Overall diet quality, high sugar loads, and rampant nutritional deficiencies - particularly zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and B vitamins - all fuel behavior problems and mental health issues.
Case in point: 1 in 10 children have ADHD. Behavior issues have notably worsened, according to 62% of teachers who have been teaching in the same school for five or more years. In “Health and Academic Achievement”, the CDC has documented the like between poor nutrition and academic performance, encompassing lower test scores, lower grades, and poor cognitive function. The average American kid consumes 34 teaspoons of sugar a day. Even more surprisingly, toddlers as consuming nearly as much sugar as older kids. The effects of sugar on children are clear – just think of kids after eating a birthday party cake. One moment, they’re bouncing off the walls, and the next, they’re crashing and irritable.
Your diet should be comprised of real, whole, nutrient-dense foods. Focus on foods that help to maintain a steady state blood sugar (low-glycemic impact). Your diet should eliminate all foods that cause stress to your body – remove all CRAP:
- Chemically altered
So, what can you do to minimize these qualities and improve your diet?
- Consider eliminating sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol from your diet.
- Consider removing grains, especially those containing gluten, and dairy.
- Buy and eat organic foods when possible. Consult the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen” for guidance on pesticides in produce.
- Mitigate / manage stress per recommendations in my previous email.
- Stop eating 2 - 3 hours before you go to sleep at night to allow adequate time for proper digestion.
- Stay hydrated – you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water (or other non-sweetened, non-caffeinated beverages) every day.
Population studies have found that more fruits and vegetables and less French fries, fast food, and sugar are associated with a lower prevalence of mental illness, and that junk food creates moderate to severe psychological distress. It's clear that we are what we eat.
We need to put an end to this SADness. It is stunting our intellectual growth and contributive behavior as a nation.