Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Does Sugar Curb Stress?


Do you overload on sugar when you're dealing with holiday stress? There might be a reason.

"Sugar may help curb stress, and that may keep us coming back for more. Researchers randomly assigned 19 women aged 18 to 40 to drink beverages (supplied by the study) three times a day with meals. About half got drinks that were sweetened with sucrose (table sugar), while half got drinks sweetened with aspartame. After two weeks, the participants were given a math test that’s designed to cause stress. After the test, the women who had been drinking the sugar-sweetened drinks had lower levels of cortisol (a hormone that’s secreted by the adrenal gland when people are stressed) than those who had been drinking the aspartame-sweetened beverages. All the women also had an MRI to measure activity in a part of the brain (the hippocampus) that gets inhibited by stress. On average, those who got the sugary drinks had a more active hippocampus than those who got the diet drinks, suggesting that they were less stressed. The results may explain why many people seek out sugary foods when they’re stressed. What should you do? When you’re stressed, think twice before you reach for sweets…or stop after just a few bites and go for a walk. There’s more than one way to deal with stress."

Why we keep coming back to sugar in drinks, from Nutrition Action Review


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