You may hear about people drowning their sorrows in a tub of ice cream or eating a stash of chocolate bars, when they feel down. Did you know there is actually a biological reason for why people crave carbohydrates during sadness? There is a chemical in the brain named serotonin that makes us feel happy. In depression, serotonin levels are lower and the brain is looking for a boost. The carbohydrates can provide that increase in serotonin. The problem is that boost comes with a a downside.
Too many carbohydrates can lead to lots of problems in the long run including weight gain, increased risk for diabetes and lowered self-esteem. There also are the immediate feelings of guilt and the energy crash that can happen after an overload of sweets. So instead of reaching for that cupcake, I would recommend doing some form of physical activity. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block. The exercise can boost serotonin and also improve your health at the same time. Instead of feeling guilty afterwards, you feel better! Next time, you’re feeling down…get moving instead of eating. Your body will thank you.