Food & Drink

Study Finds Sugar May Relieve Stress

Published On 04/20/2015 Published On 04/20/2015
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Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist

Sugar has been historically terrible for your teeth, and also not great for your heart. But if work's got you stressed, sugar might just be your friend. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) suggests that consuming sugary sodas can actually lower stress -- especially when compared with its fake cousin, aspartame.

The scientists chose 19 women for their grand experiment. All the ladies had to guzzle a sweet drink three times a day for two weeks, but some got beverages sweetened with sugar while the rest received stuff with aspartame. When the team looked at the numbers after the fact, they found that the sugar group had lower levels of cortisol, known as the "stress hormone," in their saliva. The sugar fiends also had lower cortisol reads after taking a math test, and more activity in the left hippocampus, a part of the brain that's usually less active during stress. Study author Dr. Kevin D. Laugero says his team's findings are the first evidence that high sugar (but not aspartame) consumption may lower stress. We're not sure if the good doc is planning a follow-up, but we've got our Mexican Cokes ready to go just in case.

Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and feels even smugger about her avoidance of aspartame. Follow her to the good stuff at @kristin_hunt.

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