Some people think they are addicted to sugar, and a new study shows they just might be right. A randomized controlled trial tested the connection between sugar consumption and stress response.
Nineteen young women were given beverages sweetened with either aspartame or sugar three times a day for two weeks. Salivary cortisol, a stress hormone, and brain imaging were used to track their responses.
Compared to aspartame, sugar was associated with lower cortisol during a stressful cognitive task. There were also changes in brain activity suggesting that sugar may calm the stress response.
If sugar can take the edge off stress, no wonder it is so appealing and potentially addicting.