Sweet Study, Sour Results

Sugar_cubesSugar cravings may not be so sweet when it comes to men and mental health. A new report, published in Scientific Reports, found a higher risk of depression among men who ate significant amounts of sugar.

From PsychCentral.com:

A new U.K. study finds that men with high sugar intakes have an increased likelihood of common mental disorders when compared to men with low sugar diets.

University College London investigators discovered men consuming a high sugar diet face a higher risk of mood disorders including anxiety and depression, over a five year comparison period.

According to Forbes, “The study tracked the diets and medical conditions of 8,000 people over 22 years (all part of a larger study called the Whitehall Study II) using surveys about diet and doctors’ visits completed every few years. By keeping tabs on what the participants ate and the sorts of conditions they were seeing doctors to treat, the researchers could analyze correlations between diet and health outcomes. The one that popped out is that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression in a five-year period than men who ate 40 grams or less.”

However, Newsmax.com pointed out that dietician Catherine Collins, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said the study’s recommendation that “lower intake of sugar may be associated with better psychological health,” is “unproven.”

Problems with the study, she said, included that sugar consumption was self-reported, and that sugar intake from alcohol was not counted. 

The researchers, she said, appeared to confuse naturally-occurring sugar from foodstuffs such as milk, and “free sugars” added to hot drinks or in sweets.

“The dietary analysis makes it impossible to justify the bold claims made by the researchers about sugar and depression in men,” Collins said via the Science Media Centre in London.

“Reducing intake of free sugars is good for your teeth, and may be good for your weight, too. But as protection against depression? It’s not proven.”

Depressed.svgAn interesting sidenote to the study….researchers say the high consumption of sugar that might lead to mental health issues is only present in men. TheGuardian.com wrote, ““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.”

We’d love to hear what you think about the results of this new study. Do you believe sugary treats could lead to mental health issues with men or do you agree with the U.K. dietician who claims it is unproven? And why do you think it may affect men and not women? Creating conversations around the health news making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!



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