Ahh, sugar, our favorite drug of choice. Believe it or not, it's even more addictive than cocaine! “There are 600,000 food items in America, 80 percent of them have added sugar,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of paediatrics from the University of California San Francisco, in the documentary “Fed Up”.
Sugar is undeniably one of the reasons for one's weight gain. And if not mindful, too much consumption can even lead to diabetes and dementia. Not only that, a new study shows that sweet foods and drinks can now affect you psychologically--it's likely to cause depression and anxiety on men!
Researcher Anika Knüppel and her colleagues at the University College London have analysed data from 8,087 people aged 35 to 55 in the United Kingdom. Those participants were regularly asked about their lifestyle and health information from 1985 until 2013, specifically answering questions like “how often do you eat a piece of cake”. They've also been attending clinical appointments to measure their height and weight, and completed mental health surveys at the same time.
With this, researchers found that those men who consumed more sodas, cakes, and sugary tea, were 23 percent more likely to develop depression or anxiety over the following five years!
“I had a feeling we’d see the ‘Bridget Jones-like women eat chocolate’ idea,” said Knüppel. “But it turns out people underestimate that men’s sugar intake is super high.” The pattern noticed in men was not present in women, but this could be due to the smaller sample size in women.
“Sweet food has been found to induce positive feelings in the short-term. People experiencing low mood may eat sugary foods in the hope of alleviating negative feelings. Our study suggests a high intake of sugary foods is more likely to have the opposite effect on mental health in the long-term,” Knüppel added.
It's about time we avoid saying that famous adage, "stressed is dessert backwards", and encourage people to consume more and more sugar with the hopes of cheering them up. You wouldn't want that to backfire, do you?
Get weekly science updates in your inbox!