Because men’s bodies are slower than women’s at revealing the effects of unhealthy habits, many assume it’s perfectly fine for guys to consume as many sugary confections as they please. A new study published in Scientific Reports eliminates this notion, however.
Researchers from University College London found that men who consume an abundance of products high in added sugars are more prone to develop mental health conditions (such as depression and anxiety) over a period of five years compared to men with a low sugar intake. A similar link was not found in women. Additionally, researchers found that people with mental disorders to don’t tend to consume more sugar products.
For this study, the habits of 5,000 men and 2,000 women were followed for a period of 22 years. After accumulating and assessing the data, scientists discerned that men who consume more than 67 grams of sugar have a 23 percent increased risk for mental health problems. In contrast, men who consume low-sugar diets (less than 39.5 grams of refined sugar) per day were found to be less prone to developing disorders such as anxiety or depression. As IFLScience reports, the study did not take into account lifestyle factors such as behavior, age, socioeconomic status, relationship status, etc…
Said lead author Anika Knüppel, from the University: “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. 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. The study found no link between sugar intake and new mood disorders in women and it is unclear why. More research is needed to test the sugar-depression effect in large population samples.”
Researchers found that women who consumed similarly high levels of sugar had a greater likelihood of suffering from depression. However, the evidence was not conclusive, therefore, researchers omitted it from their findings.
By no means is this the first study to show a relation between high-sugar products and depression. However, it is the first to show that individuals who suffer from the mental health disorders tend to not consume more sugary goods than the average consumer. As Knüppel says, this is because “sweet food has been found to induce positive feelings in the short-term.”
Long-term, however, an intake of sugar may have the opposite effect. Knüppel continued, “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.”
The finding also sheds light on why a large percentage of citizens in developed nations, such as the United States, is suffering from high rates of depression and anxiety. Though omitting sugar is not the solution to remedying mental health conditions, putting down the donut and sugary soda may be a key component to combating the afflictions holistically.
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here