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Sugar Relieves Stress, But Amplifies Health Problems

April 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A small U.S. clinical study that tested the impact of beverage sweeteners on the brain found that sugar – but not aspartame – relieves emotional stress. The study involved 19 young adult women whose brain responses were monitored during math tests. Before the tests, women drank beverages sweetened with sugar or aspartame. The response of the hormone cortisol was inhibited in the brains of study participants who drank sugar-sweetened beverages. The sugar actually relieved stress. The problem, researchers said, is that this can lead to increased reliance on sugary drinks and foods at emotionally stressful times, amplifying serious health problems such as obesity.
Matthew S. Tryon et al., "Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body. ", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, April 24, 2015, © The Endocrine Society
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