SUGAR, HOW'D YOU GET SO FLY?

This week, as you may have twigged, is all about sugar. Especially its effects on men’s mental health. Don’t think you’re getting off easy though, ladies - it’s bad for you too, I’m just picking my battles. In good news though - I found a pretty delicious dessert that’s good for your brain, and doesn’t go near the sweet stuff. Yes, really.

 
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Men’s mental health at risk in latest sugar shocker

Sugar solidifies its bad guy image in study that shows links to depression and anxiety in men.

As if we needed another reason to stay out of the biscuit tin. A link has been found between high sugar intake and an increased risk of developing common mental health disorders in men. 

Yep, I’m gonna need solid evidence on that **dunks hobnob in brew**

A 22-year study between 1983 and 2013 analysed sugar intake from sweet food and drinks and the occurrence of common mental disorders in over 5000 men and 2000 women. They found that men in the top sugar-intake third, (over 67g a day), were 23% more likely to suffer from common mental disorders like anxiety and depression after five years. And that was totally independent of health behaviour, social demographic or dietary factors. 

**Puts down hobnob**

According to a National Diet and Nutrition Survey from 2013, men in the UK consume on average 68.4g of added sugar a day. That’s more than double the recommended daily amount. 

What about women?

Interestingly, in the same study – no link was found between increased sugar consumption and mental disorders in women. It’s unclear why. Mysterious. And unfair!

That sugar-levy is probably on to something then.

Yep, ‘fraid so. A few weeks ago, we talked about the physiological effects of sugar on the brain – and now we know how it can take its toll on mood and disposition too. In summation, you just gotta not do it man. 

Tips to cut the sweet stuff

A lot of sugar sneaks its way in through convenience, don’t give it chance by keeping low-sugar snacks with you, like nuts, seeds and fruit. And I know you know to leave fizzy drinks and concentrated juice alone too. 

If you find you’re craving sugar, try adding naturally sweet veg like carrots, sweet potato and squash to your meals. That should satisfy your cravings, keep you full and eventually “crowd out” your need for sweets. 

FOR THE NERDY: Sugar strikes again [source: neurosciencenews.com]

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BRAIN FOOD - CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE

I know all that sugar talk, although a bit scary - has probably still got you jonesing for something sweet-esque. I’ve got your back. This pud, courtesy of Hemsley and Hemsley, is chock-a with brain-healthy stuff, contains no refined sugar and still tastes like a proper dessert. Pinky swears.

Why is it good for my brain? 

Raw cacao (and super dark chocolate) is packed with flavonoids which help with your attention-span, memory, and processing time; good old avocado is all about the omega-3 fatty acids, which aid blood flow; and bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which helps the body produce serotonin - the chemical responsible for balancing your mood.

What you’ll need: frozen ripe banana, cacao powder, avocado, raw honey, lemon juice, vanilla extract, water, salt, stevia, cacao nibs (You can click the button below to automatically add all these to your usual food shop.*praise hands emoji*)

Cooking time: 5 minutes

1. Blend all the mousse ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Add the cacao powder first and, as you blend, have all the ingredients next to so you can adjust the ratios as needed to allow to variation in the size of your ‘nana and avocado. You’re aiming for equal amounts here. 

2. Taste and add a few drops of stevia if you need more sweetness.

3. Fill cups or shot glasses with the mousse, sprinkle with the cacao powder or nibs and serve.

Tip: If you don’t have a frozen banana, just use a normal one and stick the mousse in the freezer for a bit. If you forget about it by accident, this is also the sh*t when frozen, so you can pretend it was on purpose.

ADD THE INGREDIENTS TO YOUR SHOP

For the nerdy: Read more with our handy A-Z of brain food [source: trydawn.co]

Also original recipe above from Hemsley and Hemsley

WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK 

Watch: Sooo… I had this dream last night... Imagine you could actually control what comes next. Like, immerse yourself into a self-directed VR experience while you sleep. Here’s how: Hack your brain with lucid dreaming. [youtube]

Read: Is MDMA going mainstream? A trippy and insightful Guardian read about the use of psychedelics to treat PTSD, depression and anxiety. [guardian]

Listen: Listen all y’all it’s a sabotage. The thing is, sometimes sabotage comes not from the Beastie Boys, but from your own brain. Get out of your own way with this podcast on how to deal with self sabotage. [acast]

Follow: Kimberley Wilson, a Chartered Psychologist focusing on the psychology of food, disordered eating, and IBS, as well as managing depression, stress, and emotional health. [instagram]

Fairly sure I’m gonna be dreaming about the Beastie Boys tonight, on a giant stage made of sugar, eating chocolate pudding… 
Dan


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