Can Food Affect Your Mood?

Ever felt depressed after a big chocolate binge or bloated and unmotivated after a couple of slices of thick white bread? It’s not always coincidence that your moods change after you’ve eaten. Food, like many other factors in life including stress and lack of exercise, really can affect your moods and energy levels- not just for the worse but also for the better.

Most of us have highly stressed lifestyles. More often than not we are racing to do everything, racing to get ahead. Most days, food is something we grab on the run, something we fit in between meetings and usually not what is best for our bodies. We forget that to keep on going we need to refuel with foods that nourish and energise us.

People are now beginning to make the link between food and emotions. Kathleen Desmaisons, author of Potatoes not Prozac believes excess sugar is the cause of many of our woes. She believes there is a direct correlation between high sugar content in foods and depression. This really rang true to me – it’s something that I’ve observed in my clients over and over.

Test the theory yourself. For one week monitor what you eat then look through and see what percentage of your choices were high in sugar. You will be surprised. Excess sugar is what creates the ups and downs in your moods and irrational thought patterns. Plus a high percentage of us cannot metabolise the sugar content so it turns to fat, and we feel lethargic and tired.

How to tell if what you’re eating affects your moods and energy levels. The best way to do this is to monitor your energy levels in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Monitor the way you feel every day for a week. Notice your energy levels when you wake up compared to when you go to bed and also whether your mood changes throughout the day.


March 2, 2001

Can Food Affect Your Mood?(Cont’d)

If you find your moods and energy levels vary a great deal you may need to look more closely at what you are consuming.

Low Energy Foods

Chips, crisps, Turkish bread, all sweets, most breakfast cereals, yogurts, pasta, all simple carbohydrates, milk products, biscuits.

High energy foods

Veges, nuts, beans, potatoes, brown rice, meat, fish, fruit, sugar free breads.

Your aim is to become more aware of what you’re eating. Look at what is in the foods you consume and be careful to note the sugar content.

Cut out processed foods, refined sugars and cut down on carbohydrates. Eat a lots of vegetables, fruit and protein rich foods.

The aim is to find those foods that support you; provide you with the energy to do everything you would like to do.

And don’t forget about exercise

Alongside eating foods that support you exercise is a must to maintain vitality. If you do not already exercise regularly, now is the time to start. You don’t need to become a gym junkie, even just walking to work can make a difference. Whatever is easiest is for you is your best option.

For more information check out Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen Desmaisons, available at all good bookstores nationally.

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March 2, 2001