The Mid-Autumn Festival extended vacation is a time when many people gorge themselves on food and drink. However, new medical research indicates that excessive consumption of sugar can increase the chances of the onset of depression. Returning to work at the end of the holiday coincides with the arrival of seasonal northeasterly winds, which bring overcast and rainy weather that can also affect people’s mood.
Research published in the University of Kansas journal Medical Hypotheses indicates that excessive consumption of sugar can trigger a metabolic and inflammatory biological response, which has been linked to the onset of depression. According to the study, reduced exposure to sunlight during the winter months disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep patterns, which typically tips between 5 to 10 percent of the US population into a depressive state. The study found that a common characteristic of “winter-onset depression” is a craving for sugar.
While sugar will provide an initial mood lift for people suffering from depression, researchers found that excessive consumption of sugary foods can cause mood swings, exacerbate inflammation and lead to weight gain. The study also found that inflammation is the most important physiological effect of sugar consumption, and it is linked to mental health and depressive disorders.
Photo: Peter Lo, Liberty Times 照片：自由時報記者羅沛德
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital psychiatrist Liu Chia-yih says that when serotonin levels in the brain become imbalanced, intake of sugar will provide a temporary boost of serotonin and alleviate the symptoms of depression in the short term, but over the long term excessive consumption of sugar will lead to inflammation of the brain and affect one’s mood.
Liu says that winter-onset depression has been linked to reduced sunlight exposure and frequently occurs within high latitude areas of the globe where the hours of daylight are short and the nights are long. Although Taiwan undergoes distinct atmospheric changes at this time of year, Liu says that Taiwan is a subtropical climate, so only a relatively small number of people suffer from winter-onset depression. In addition to increasing exercise, altering one’s diet can also help to prevent depression, Liu, who advises avoiding foods that contain the “three highs” — high levels of sugar, fat or salt, says. Liu recommends increasing intake of omega-3 oilcontaining fish, vegetables and foods high in fiber. Maintaining a balanced diet will have a definite beneficial effect, Liu adds
(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
Photo: CNA 照片：中央社
Late singer Whitney Houston has earned her third diamond-certified album, becoming the first black artist to achieve the feat, according to AP. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced recently that Whitney’s 1987 second album, “Whitney,” has reached diamond status, which is equivalent to selling 10 million albums in the US. Diamond status is 10 times higher than platinum status. “Whitney” features four songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart: the Grammy-winning I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me), Didn’t We Almost Have It All, So Emotional and Where Do Broken Hearts Go. Her self-titled 1985 debut album
A: Is the award ceremony going to be televised? Do you think they’ll do a close-up of your faces when your names are announced, and at the moment they declare the winner? B: I hadn’t thought of that! How mortifying. I suppose I have to practice feigning surprise or looking pleased for the other team if we don’t win. A: You’ll be fine. Just act natural, and make sure you don’t eat the dessert until after your category has been announced. B: Why? Because I need to wait to see whether I should eat the cake to celebrate
A: Why are you so worried about the acceptance speech? B: I find any kind of public speaking really intimidating. I get paralyzed with fear standing in front of a sea of expectant faces. I can see it now: I’ll be shaking uncontrollably, my pulse will be racing and I won’t be able to stop my knees knocking. A: Think positive. Just remember to memorize your speech beforehand. B: I’ve already prepared a speech and committed it to memory, but I bet my mind will go blank if I’m ever called to actually deliver it. A: You’re overthinking it. You’re tying yourself up in
A: Whatever you do, don’t spend 10 minutes on stage blubbering and effusing about how you love everyone and how if we follow our dreams we are sure to achieve them in the end. And please, do not read a list as long as your arm of the names of people without whom you could have not done it. B: Yeah, I know. It’s annoying when people do that. It’s embarrassing, patronizing and stultifyingly boring. A: Yes, and although I do love your work, it’s only a report about foreign rodents, after all. B: You’ve persuaded me. I’m