We have written a lot about stress over the years. Stress can impact many aspects of your health. It can also wreak havoc on your blood sugar. And, while stress can affect your blood sugar, your blood sugar can also affect your stress levels and mood.
So many things in the body are interconnected and work like feedback loops that it might come as no surprise to you that your blood pressure can worsen stress.
Talking about treating anxiety, Dr. Ellen Vora said, “Oftentimes, I like to start with stabilizing blood sugar because it has such a quick impact on our day-to-day anxious feelings. The modern American diet is built on a foundation of refined carbs and milkshakes disguised as coffee drinks. We end up on this roller coaster of blood sugar spikes chased by insulin, followed by blood sugar crashes that can feel identical to anxiety. Stabilizing blood sugar offers powerful relief from both anxiety and the sense of doom and unease that many people carry in the pit of their stomach.”
She continued, “The definitive solution, to eat a blood sugar-stabilizing diet with fewer refined carbohydrates and more protein and healthy fats, is a lovely strategy. But if that’s 180 degrees from how you’re eating now, here’s a short-term fix: every few hours, eat a spoonful of sunflower, almond or other nut butter, ghee or coconut oil. This creates a safety net that can blunt any blood sugar crash. Many patients have told me this intervention alone stopped their panic attacks.”
Depression impacts a quarter of people with blood sugar concerns. Symptoms of unstable blood sugar are irritability, anxiety and worry, which can feed into a negative loop of stress. The exact link between blood sugar and stress isn’t known, but there is a connection. Studies have repeatedly found that fluctuating blood sugar impacts mood and stress.
Studies have also found stress hormones impact blood sugar. Long-term stress can lead to chronic high levels of cortisol and lower insulin levels. That can be dangerous for people with blood sugar concerns and can cause long-term harm. Increasing the fiber and protein you eat while lowering the sugar and simple carbs can help your blood sugar and mood. It also aids your microbiome, weight and overall health.
While telling yourself to “calm down” rarely makes a difference to your stress levels, cutting back on sugar could significantly impact you. If you have been struggling with mood and stress, try removing more sugar from your diet; the impact may pleasantly surprise you!