Sugar and Anxiety

We often get questions like whether there is a type of anti-anxiety food or whether there is a possible link between anxiety and sugar?

I cover the link between sugar and anxiety in more depth on another page (which you can access by clicking here), but I will present a succinct explanation right here: The basal ganglia in the brain is the center that among other things is involved with anxiety and panic attacks. And this area can be adversely effected by too much sugar or carbohydrates.

Because they can create a huge spike in your blood sugar levels and your body needs to create more insulin to account for the spike – which can cause weight gain! – however after our blood sugar spikes: a huge crash in your blood sugar occurs!

This drop can make you very irritable, but worse yet, very anxious. Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D. explains that “Diets high in refined sugars, such as the low fat diets of the past, encourage diabetes, tiredness, and cognitive impairment. Yet, to imply that bacon is a health food and that oranges and carrots are as bad as cake seems silly.”

You may be asking: what are some examples of anti anxiety food?

Well, Dr. Amen goes on to explain that the best eating approach is one that balances good protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Eating regularly throughout the day (keeping blood sugar more stable throughout the day) and consuming foods lower in refined carbohydrates and SUGAR can be helpful for anxiety.

So it is important to cut out sweets, candy, cake and any of the obvious things.

But sugar is seemingly everywhere!

So you have to be more vigilant about sugar levels in the foods you consume.

Look at the sugar counts of various foods and go for the lower sugar items.

You will feel much better once you remove sugar and too many carbs from your diet by eating a diet that keeps you satisfied throughout the day, as previously discussed.


You’ll probably find it difficult to cut out sugar as your cravings will increase once it is eliminated – especially if you consume a lot of sweets.  It may take several weeks.  Eventually the craving will disappear.


Do not get discouraged: should you wish to have a healthy substitute for sugar that has no effect on blood sugar – in other words, none of the detrimental effects of anxiety and sugar – then you may consider researching the herb Stevia. You can probably obtain it from your local health food store.

I’m not suggesting that this dietary approach concerning sugar and anxiety is a magic potion of anti anxiety food, but I am saying it is a great adjunct to the many other things that can form part of a comprehensive approach to anxiety and panic attacks.  For more information about an overall approach to anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia please sign up for my newsletter below.

Reference (Anti Anxiety Food)

Dr Amen: Seven Simple Brain-Promoting Nutritional Tips. Retrieved July 16, 2012, from