Nav: Home

No such thing as 'sugar rush'! Sugar worsens mood rather than improving it

April 04, 2019

  • Sugar does not improve any aspect of mood and can even worsen it, according to new research published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
  • Using data collected from 31 studies, the researchers discovered that sugar consumption does not have a beneficial effect on mood
  • Instead, sugar increases tiredness and lowers alertness within an hour after its consumption
Sugar does not improve mood and it can make people less alert and more tired after its consumption - according to a new study by the University of Warwick, Humboldt University of Berlin, and Lancaster University.

The research team set out to examine the myth of the 'sugar rush': can sugar really put you in a better mood? Using data collected from 31 published studies involving almost 1300 adults, Dr Konstantinos Mantantzis at Humboldt University of Berlin, Dr Sandra Sünram-Lea at Lancaster University, and Dr Friederike Schlaghecken and Professor Elizabeth Maylor in the University of Warwick's Department of Psychology investigated the effect of sugar on various aspects of mood, including anger, alertness, depression, and fatigue.

They also considered how factors such as the quantity and type of sugar consumed might affect mood, and whether engaging in demanding mental and physical activities made any difference.

The researchers found that :
  • sugar consumption has virtually no effect on mood, regardless of how much sugar is consumed or whether people engage in demanding activities after taking it.
  • people who consumed sugar felt more tired and less alert than those who had not.
  • the idea of a 'sugar rush' is a myth without any truth behind it.
Professor Elizabeth Maylor, from the University of Warwick, commented:

"We hope that our findings will go a long way to dispel the myth of the 'sugar rush' and inform public health policies to decrease sugar consumption."

Dr Konstantinos Mantantzis, from Humboldt University of Berlin, who led the study, said:

"The idea that sugar can improve mood has been widely influential in popular culture, so much so that people all over the world consume sugary drinks to become more alert or combat fatigue.

"Our findings very clearly indicate that such claims are not substantiated - if anything, sugar will probably make you feel worse."

Dr Sandra Sünram-Lea added:

"The rise in obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in recent years highlights the need for evidence-based dietary strategies to promote healthy lifestyle across the lifespan. Our findings indicate that sugary drinks or snacks do not provide a quick 'fuel refill' to make us feel more alert."
-end-
NOTES TO EDITORS

The paper 'Sugar Rush or Sugar Crash? A Meta-Analysis of Carbohydrate Effects on Mood' is in press in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.

It is co-authored by Dr Konstantinos Mantantzis, Dr Friederike Schlaghecken, Dr Sandra Sünram-Lea, and Professor Elizabeth Maylor.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.03.016

View the paper at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763418309175?via%3Dihub

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager - Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

University of Warwick

Related Consumption Articles:

Tea consumption leads to epigenetic changes in women
Epigenetic changes are chemical modifications that turn our genes off or on.
Link between alcohol consumption and cardiac arrhythmias
Researchers who studied beer drinkers at the Munich Octoberfest have found that the more alcohol consumed the higher was the likelihood of developing abnormal heart rhythms called cardiac arrhythmias.
Risky alcohol consumption can increase at time of retirement
Every tenth employee increases their alcohol consumption to risky levels at the time of retirement from full-time employment.
The consumption of legumes is associated with a lower risk of diabetes
Recent results from the PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterranea) study show a protective association between total legumes consumption, especially lentils, and the risk of developing subsequent type 2 diabetes after more than 4 years of follow-up of 3349 participants at high cardiovascular risk.
Alcohol consumption shows no effect on coronary arteries
Researchers using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) have found no association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Could exercise help smokers who want to reduce consumption but not quit?
Researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry will lead a national study with £1.8 million of funding from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment program to test the effectiveness of new support to help smokers who want to reduce but not quit.
Excessive alcohol consumption impacts breathing
Loyola University Chicago researchers have discovered a potential new health concern related to excessive alcohol consumption.
Meat consumption contributing to global obesity
Should we be warning consumers about over-consumption of meat as well as sugar?
Frequent nut consumption associated with less inflammation
In a study of more than 5,000 people, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have found that greater intake of nuts was associated with lower levels of biomarkers of inflammation, a finding that may help explain the health benefits of nuts.
It pays to increase energy consumption
Researchers at Aarhus University have carried out extensive theoretical mappings of the way private consumers can save money for heating in a modern supply system based on electricity.

Related Consumption Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...