I was pounding down some chips and pretzels the other day when I suddenly realized what I was doing. Not that I never eat those things, but I realized at that moment that I've been hitting the bread and snacks pretty hard this past month or two.
If so, you're not alone. Many people seem to crave more bread, pasta, snacks and sweets in the wintertime.
The shorter days of winter means less exposure to sun and subsequently lower production of vit-D. Serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical, requires Vit-D for its production. This means that your serotonin levels can really take a dive in the winter. This, at least in part, explains why some people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), mild depression or even just crankiness during the winter months.
Eating carbohydrates creates a rush of serotonin in the brain, which enhances our mood. So munching on winter carbs is a means of self-medicating in an effort to feel better.
This may elevate our mood temporarily but it comes at a price - extra pounds, fluctuations in blood sugar and a stress to your insulin/glucose regulatory system.
Help put winter's last gasp behind you by getting your carb cravings and mood on a better track. The days are getting longer, the snow is behind us (hopefully), and the warmth and sunshine of spring are on their way.
Dr. Russell Charno