Do you spend most of your day with low energy, mood swings, and constantly craving for the delicious food you gave up? Hunger has the power to make you extremely irritable and angry. These symptoms of being “hangry” can make you want to scrap your diet routine and go back to the times when you could eat anything you wanted to.
When you start following a particular diet, your body undergoes changes to adapt to your needs, resulting in the mood changes. It becomes worse when you have to workout while on a diet. Although the end result is going to be amazing, going through the entire process can be exhausting.
However, it is not impossible to enjoy a diet. Here are 5 reasons your diet is affecting your mood and how you can calm the emotional rollercoaster.
1. Skipping Meals
Irrespective of which meal is it, skipping it can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar. Low blood sugar levels are associated with mood swings or negative mood states. What’s worse? With a bad mood, you cannot think straight or make the right decisions. You don’t want this on a busy workday! Ensure that you eat something every 3 or 4 hours to balance your blood sugar levels.1
2. Lack Of Vital Nutrients
Popular diets like a low-carb diet, paleo or a gluten-free diet can put you at the risks of several diseases.2 They require you to exclude major food groups from your diet, which leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
These nutrients are essential for your brain function and mental health. When your body doesn’t get enough folate, B-vitamins, magnesium or omega-3 fatty acids, you become irritable and fatigued. Keep a check on the nutrients you are missing out on and replace them either with supplements or alternative food sources.
3. Low Carbohydrate Intake
Don’t you turn towards a carbohydrate-rich snack when you feel low? Carbohydrates increase your blood sugar, making you “feel good.” When you reduce the carb intake, you feel down as a result of the plummeting blood sugar.
Although it might help you lose weight, a study found that a low-carb diet can make you restless and grumpy in the initial stages, as compared to a reduced-calorie balanced diet.3
4. Craving Comfort Food
The difficulty of resisting a cheese-loaded pizza can only be known by someone on a diet. You don’t have to be sad all day long for ditching your favorite food, just to lose weight.
Remember, dieting is not about being hard on yourself. A small treat once in a while can make you feel better and prevent binging, too. You can also go for healthier substitutes like yogurt instead of ice cream, or dark chocolate in place of milk chocolate.
5. Diet Stress
Do you see yourself counting calories before every meal? Keeping a check on everything that goes into your tummy can make you cranky and irritable. This added stress due to the new food restrictions can take a toll on your happiness.
Researchers have found that calorie restriction could increase psychological stress and cortisol production, resulting in weight gain. So, a diet which focusses on low-calorie intake can have a reverse effect on your body and mental health.4
When on a diet, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water during the day to reduce sugar cravings. The weight loss goal has several obstacles that one needs to overcome. Even though every diet can make you a little moody, you shouldn’t feel completely starved right before every meal.
|↑1||Gonder-Frederick, Linda A., Daniel J. Cox, Sharon A. Bobbitt, and James W. Pennebaker. “Mood changes associated with blood glucose fluctuations in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.” Health Psychology 8, no. 1 (1989): 45.|
|↑2||Calton, Jayson B. “Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7, no. 1 (2010): 24.|
|↑3||D’Anci, Kristen E., Kara L. Watts, Robin B. Kanarek, and Holly A. Taylor. “Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood.” Appetite 52, no. 1 (2009): 96-103.|
|↑4||Tomiyama, A. Janet, Traci Mann, Danielle Vinas, Jeffrey M. Hunger, Jill DeJager, and Shelley E. Taylor. “Low calorie dieting increases cortisol.” Psychosomatic medicine 72, no. 4 (2010): 357.|