Food is supposed to be one of the healthier choices we can turn to in times of stress.
Definitely not booze, and not drugs.
Chocolates always seemed to be a good idea. After all, how could something so deliciously decadent be bad for us?
Well, apparently, it is. But it’s not the chocolate. Researchers think it’s the sugar.
The study out of the University of California, Davis suggests the stress relief that comes from eating sugar may lead some people to consume more sweets and develop a sugar addiction that’s hard to break.
The two-week study involved giving 19 women math questions to do in their heads, something guaranteed to trigger stress responses in the brain.
The women then drank three beverages a day sweetened either with real sugar or the sugar substitute aspartame.
Next came magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans to see what the sugar did to their brains. That’s when the researchers discovered sugar triggered activity in the part of the brain that reacted to stress.
The findings suggested to researchers that real sugar interrupted the normal stress responses in the hippocampus region of the brain, which limited production of cortisol, a stress hormone.
In other words, sugar fools our brains into thinking we need more sugar to feel better, instead of letting our brain do what it’s supposed to do in times of stress.
That makes sense, because people don’t crave carrots or celery or other veggies when they’re stressed out.
And that’s some sugar sweet food for thought.