You know the saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, new research is proving it to be more true than ever. Scientists are now reporting junk foods can put you in junk moods.
A new study published in the scientific journal Neuroscience reports your stomach is in direct communication with your brain, and the two organs communicate to impact your moods based on what you eat. It seems diet-related changes in your gut microbiome (the friendly bacteria that help break down food in your digestive tract) caused by munching on high-fat and high-sugar foods can negatively affect your cognitive flexibility—a.k.a. your ability to adapt to change.
The research shows a diet of junk food, tasty as it may be, impairs cognitive flexibility in mice. When the rodents were fed a high-fat or a high-sugar diet for four weeks, there was a significant change in their gut bacteria and their performance on mental and physical function tests dropped, compared to mice on a normal diet. And the researchers believe a study on humans would result in similar findings.
“We’ve known for a while that too much fat and sugar are not good for you,” Kathy Magnusson, the lead author of the study and a professor at Oregon State University said in a news release. “This work suggests that fat and sugar are altering your healthy bacterial systems, and that’s one of the reasons those foods aren’t good for you. It’s not just the food that could be influencing your brain, but an interaction between the food and microbial changes.”
People with low levels of cognitive flexibility are typically the ones who display anger and anxiety in high-stress situations. Want to keep your cool? Skipping greasy fries and donuts certainly can’t hurt, and this research shows it might even keep your gut and mind happy. Learning how to blow off steam with a few calm-down tricks could improve your mood, too.
Has eating junk food ever put you in a junk mood? Share your thoughts in the comments!
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.