Sweet and Low

By Brittney Saline

In Medical/Injuries, Nutrition, Rest Day/Theory

December 02, 2015

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Brittney Saline details how exercise and healthy eating might be the best way to combat sugar-fueled depression.

America has a happiness problem, and Coca-Cola’s got the answer. On the multi-billion-dollar beverage company’s website, the brand juxtaposes the words of Aristotle, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha and others with the prose of its marketing team: “Open an ice cold Coca-Cola and choose happiness!”

It didn’t work so well for Roxanne Melillo. A survivor of childhood domestic violence and sexual abuse, the 39-year-old has spent her life sugarcoating her pain. It made sense to do so. After all, sugar mediates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates reward signals in the brain. Despite her self-medication, Melillo grew heavier, not happier. By 36, she was pushing 300 lb. at an even 5 feet and had stopped socializing.

“I didn’t care; (sugar) kept me in a cloud of no reality,” she said.

She’s not the only one with a sugar problem. In 2013, the average American consumed approximately 22 teaspoons of caloric sweeteners per day, according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. Meanwhile, an estimated 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, which dubs depression the world’s “leading cause of disability.”

It’s not for lack of drugs. One in 10 Americans 12 and older takes antidepressant medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The rate of antidepressant use has more than tripled in the past 25 years, and yet, if anything, the overall rate of depression is higher now than it was back then,” said Stephen Ilardi, a Kansas University psychology professor who holds a doctorate in clinical neuroscience. “Everything that we’re throwing at this epidemic is really barely making a dent.”

So why are we so unhappy?

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1 Comment on “Sweet and Low”


wrote …

It's all about moderation. Can you imagine what the world would be like without soda or sweets? Sad I tell you, very sad, far more sad than it is now. I do agree that soda and sweets, or sugar in general, is very harmful to the body and mind when taken in large doses on a daily basis, but I believe these products have their place in the world, they just need to put back in it. I think Coach Glassman's idea about putting warning labels on sodas (especially those that are almost entirely composed of sugar) is a good one. I wonder what it would look like, the warning label I mean? I love soda, alot... and I don't want to see it go away, but but I would love to see a warning label on it.

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