Friday, July 15, 2011

Can you really eat your way to happiness? The mood food connection

Yes, you really can eat your way to happiness, but perhaps not in the way you might first imagine. By "happiness," I mean lasting happiness, not the fleeting kind of sensory happiness that might be experienced from sucking the cream filling out of a twinkie. And that's the distinction that really matters here: When I talk about happiness, I'm talking about sustainable happiness, not a brief moment of spurious excitement that soon reverses itself and leads to depression.

You see, a lot of people try to eat their way to happiness by eating the "instant joy" foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies and yes, even twinkies. Sugar can, indeed, make us momentarily uplifted because this refined molecule temporarily boosts blood sugar and actively alters brain chemistry. But like any drug, the depression after it wears off is far worse than the brief happiness it appeared to give us. And in the worst cases, we sometimes fall into a pattern of treating that mental rut with yet another hit of sugar to try to keep the happiness going. Read more...

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