From obesity to diabetes, the consumption of sugary beverages is known to be linked to a number of health concerns, and now, a study has pointed out to how it could actually prove to be helpful.
The consumption of sugary beverages is known to increase the risk of many health conditions and exacerbate the existing ones, but now, this new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has revealed how sugary beverages could help suppress cortisol- a hormone that is known to cause both stress and weight gain.
The researchers also found that beverages sweetened with aspartame- an artificial sweetener, didn’t have the same effect on the brain as sugary drinks do.
“This is the first evidence that high sugar – but not aspartame – consumption may relieve stress in humans,” the researchers say. “The concern is psychological or emotional stress could trigger the habitual overconsumption of sugar and amplify sugar’s detrimental health effects, including obesity.”
The researchers took in 19 women between 18-40 years of age and asked 8 of them to consume aspartame sweetened beverages while 11 of them were asked to consume regular sugary beverages. These women were then asked to undergo a functional MRI scan and certain math tests to better understand the brain’s response to stress.
Saliva samples were also taken to examine cortisol levels, and it was found that women who consumed more of sugar sweetened beverages had a reduced cortisol response when they were asked to undergo the math test, and had better levels of activity in the hippocampus of the brain.
“The results suggest differences in dietary habits may explain why some people underreact to stressful situations and others overreact,” the researchers believe. “Although it may be tempting to suppress feelings of stress, a normal reaction to stress is important to good health. Research has linked over- and under-reactivity in neural and endocrine stress systems to poor mental and physical health.”