Men with a sweet tooth, take note: Too much sugar may make you anxious and depressed

Eating too many sweets may make men anxious and depressed, say scientists who found that high intake of sugar can increase the risk of common mental disorders.

People experiencing low mood may eat sugary foods in the hope of alleviating negative feelings.
People experiencing low mood may eat sugary foods in the hope of alleviating negative feelings.(Shutterstock)

“High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men,” said Anika Knuppel from University College London in the UK. “There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” Knuppel said.

Researchers analysed the sugar intake from sweet food and beverages and occurrence of common mental disorders in more than 5,000 men and over 2,000 women for a period of 22 years between 1983 and 2013. The team categorised daily sugar intake from sweet food and beverages into three similar sized groups. They found that men who consumed more than 67 grammes, had a 23% increased chance of incident common mental disorders after five years, compared to those in the bottom third, who consumed less than 39.5 grammes.

Researchers also found that men and women with mood disorders and high sugar consumption also had an increased chance of being depressed again after five years compared to those with lower intakes. “Sweet food has been found to induce positive feelings in the short-term. People experiencing low mood may eat sugary foods in the hope of alleviating negative feelings,” Knuppel said.


“Our study suggests a high intake of sugary foods is more likely to have the opposite effect on mental health in the long-term,” Knuppel added. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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