Eating sugar changes your physiology in two ways that increase your risk of depression, says study author Daniel Reis, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. First, it triggers an inflammatory response in the body and brain. Second, it reduces dopamine activity in the brain's reward centers.
During winter, you’re already more susceptible to depressive symptoms (and therefore, sugar cravings) thanks to the season’s short days and lack of sunlight, among other things, Reis says. When all of these effects are compounded, your risk spikes.
The bottom line:
Limiting your added sugar intake is especially important in the winter. Reis suggests indulging mindfully and capping your intake at no more than two tablespoons per day for women and three for men.