Is there such a thing as a sugar rush?
I frequently read and hear this. Or maybe it is a sugar rush followed by a crash. I have heard it all.
Researchers from Germany and the United Kingdom took a deep dive into this subject with a meta-analysis of 31 studies. Meta-analysis uses statistical techniques that combine data from numerous studies to produce findings with greater statistical power. This study has been accepted in the journal Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews.
The data on sugar improving mood is conflicting. The goal for these researchers, using a meta-analysis, was to see if research supported perception.
They examined mood at three time points after sugar ingestion: Alertness immediately, 30 minutes and one hour after sugar intake. The researchers found no increase in calmness, confusion or anger after sugar or carbohydrate consumption.
There was one mood that reached the level of statistical significance. Subjects in nine studies reported significantly higher levels of fatigue after sugar intake when compared with a placebo at 30 minutes after consuming the sugar.
Sugar did not seem to improve any positive aspect of mood or behavior at any time point after consumption. This calls into questions the sugar high that parents report seeing in their children.
Of course, the studies in this meta-analysis were healthy adults so we can’t assume it is directly applicable to children.
Will research like this change the conversation or will folks still reach for a soda as a pick-me-up even though the research indicated it leads to fatigue? And we can’t ignore the emotional and social influences on what we eat.
For anyone picking up a soda for a burst of energy, they might do better with an apple with a few swipes of peanut butter and a cool glass of flavored seltzer. Same calories, less sugar, more protein and it doesn’t produce fatigue.