Sugar may not only be bad for your teeth and waistlines, but also your mental health. Researchers at University College London (UCL) compared the report of sugar intake by more than 8,000 people in a long-term study in the UK with their moods.
Participants who are civil servants, monitored during 1985-1988, and filled out questionnaires every every few years. Researchers analyzed the study data that studied the relationship between sugar intake and general mental disorders (CMD) such as anxiety and depression.
The UCL team found men who consumed more sweet foods and drinks were more likely to suffer from mental disorders after five years. They concluded, in a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, that lower sugar intake could be associated with better psychological health.
But nutritionist Catherine Collins, spokesman for the British Dietetic Association, said the results have not been proven. The problem is the amount of sugar consumption self-reported by the participants and the sugar intake of alcohol is not calculated. The researchers, he says, seem to confuse natural sugars from foods such as milk, and sugar added to hot drinks or sweets.
"Reducing sugar intake is very good for teeth, and may also be good for weight, but as a protection against depression? Not proven," says Collins.
Nutritionist Tom Sanders agreed the results should be interpreted with caution.
"From a scientific point of view it is hard to see how the sugar in the diet is different from other carbohydrate sources in mental health because they are broken down into simple sugars in the intestine before being absorbed," he said as quoted by AFP.