Fighting stress with sugar could cause obesity

Fighting stress with sugar could cause obesity
Fighting stress with sugar could cause obesity

There has been a growing awareness of how consuming sugar sweetened drinks is contributing to the obesity epidemic. On the brighter side drinking sugar sweetened beverages suppresses the hormone cortisol and stress response of the brain reports the Endocrine Society via Newswise. According to researchers drinking diet beverages which are sweetened with aspartame does not have this same effect.

Study author Kevin D. Laugero, PhD says this is the first time there is evidence that high sugar, but not aspartame, consumption may actually help relieve stress in people. There is however a concern that psychological or emotional stress could trigger an habitual overconsumption of sugar which could intensify sugar’s negative health effects such as obesity. It is estimated that approximately 35 percent of adults and about 17 percent of kids across the USA are obese.

It was observed by the researchers that women who drank sugar sweetened beverages during the study had a decreased cortisol response to a math test in comparison to women who drank aspartame sweetened beverages. Furthermore, the women who drank sugar sweetened beverages showed more activity in the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that is involved in memory and which is sensitive to stress, than the women who consumed aspartame sweetened beverages. The hippocampus is generally less active when the body is under stress.

This study has been published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Both overconsumption of sugar and chronic stress are serious health concerns because they both may increase the risk for obesity and associated diseases. It appears that some people who are under stress are more hooked on sugar and therefore possibly more vulnerable to obesity and its associated conditions.

In view of credible concerns about the negative effects of too much sugar and too much stress on people it would seem wise to consider healthy lifestyle alternatives to coping with stress while being very careful about consuming too much sugar. Some sugar free natural things to do which may help you cope with stress include good nutrition, daily exercise of at least 30 minutes, spending time in nature, playing with your kids and pets, adequate sleep, professional massage, and meditation. A healthy sex life with your spouse may also help. It’s also a good idea to avoid consuming too much caffeine and alcohol. Avoidance of cigarettes is also suggested.

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Crystal Perry, MS, LMHC, LPC has been working in the clinical field for over a decade. She has helped to empower individuals to think critically and creatively to solve problems and help improve their lives. Perry has applied these clinical skills in multiple agencies with every population from infants to older adults. She has used these experience to be a state office expert mental health treatment. Her training in clinical practice and art therapy has afforded her the opportunity to understand all aspects of mental health and wellness.


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