The so-called ‘sugar rush’ is a complete myth, new research finds.
Sugar has almost no effect on mood.
In fact, it makes people feel more tired and less alert.
Within 30 minutes of eating sugary foods, or other carbohydrate heavy foods, people feel more tired.
Within 60 minutes of eating sugar or other carbs, people feel less alert.
The conclusions come from a review of 31 separate studies including almost 1,300 people.
The studies looked at sugar’s effect on different aspects of mood, including alertness, depression, anger and fatigue.
The results showed that:
- Sugar had almost no effect on mood, no matter how much people consume.
- The idea of a sugar rush is a total myth.
- After eating sugar, people are less alert and more tired than those who had not consumed it.
Dr Konstantinos Mantantzis, the study’s first author, said:
“The idea that sugar can improve mood has been widely influential in popular culture, so much so that people all over the world consume sugary drinks to become more alert or combat fatigue.
Our findings very clearly indicate that such claims are not substantiated — if anything, sugar will probably make you feel worse.”
Dr Sandra Sünram-Lea, study co-author, said:
“The rise in obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in recent years highlights the need for evidence-based dietary strategies to promote healthy lifestyle across the lifespan.
Our findings indicate that sugary drinks or snacks do not provide a quick ‘fuel refill’ to make us feel more alert.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (Mantantzis et al., 2019).