The idea of ‘sugar rush’ — a state of hyperactivity after consuming too many sweets — is a myth, claim scientists who found that sugar makes people less alert and more tired. Researchers from University of Warwick and Lancaster University in the UK set out to examine whether sugar really boost people’s mood.
Using data collected from 31 published studies involving almost 1,300 adults, the team 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. They found that people who consumed sugar felt more tired and less alert than those who had not. The study shows that the idea of a ‘sugar rush’ is a myth without any truth behind it.
“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,” said Elizabeth Maylor, from the University of Warwick.
“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,” said Konstantinos Mantantzis, from Humboldt University of Berlin, who led the study.
“Our findings very clearly indicate that such claims are not substantiated — if anything, sugar will probably make you feel worse,” said Mantantzis.