The Not-so Sweet Risk of High Sugar Intake

Whether it’s in candy, cookies or various drinks, people just can’t get enough of sugar. Unfortunately, high sugar intake is associated with numerous problems, including weight gain and diagnosis. Furthermore, men who consume large amounts of sugary goods might be at greater risk of depression.

Sweet Tooth, Sour Attitude?

Researchers from University College London (UCL) recently examined the possible connections between sugar consumption and mental health issues. A total of 7,000 individuals were analyzed, of which 5,000 were men.

Among males, the authors found that depression was more likely to appear in those with sugar heavy diets, defined as more than 67 grams of sugar daily. In contrast to men who ate relatively little sugar (39.5 grams or less of sugar per day), these male subjects were 23 percent more at risk of developing mental health problems within a five-year follow up period.

The authors entertained that the idea that the possible depression/sugar intake link could have an alternate explanation – that is, that depressed men sought out sugary foods as a sort of coping mechanism.

However, they found that this was not the case. Furthermore, the UCL team could not find any evidence that such a relationship existed among women, something they could not offer an explanation for.

Another Reason to Eat Right

The researchers published their work in the journal Scientific Reports in November 2016. According to senior author Anika Knüppel, the report provides solid evidence that sugar can negatively impact both mental and physical health.

“High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men,” stated Knüppel. “There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

”Despite their findings, the team did offer a word of caution, noting that additional research would be required in order to “test the sugar-depression effect in large population samples.” Knüppel contends that her team’s study is at least the fourth such report to find evidence of a sugar depression link.

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