As with any study, this one should be taken with a grain of sugar, but the findings of a University College London review indicate that there’s a link between sugary foods and depression in men.
Published in Scientific Reports, the study examined the diet and mental health of about 6,800 men and 3,400 women who were recruited in the 1980s and subsequently interacted with the researchers via questionnaires that were delivered every couple of years.
Using the participants’ self-reported data about diet and their answers to the General Health Questionnaire, the researchers were able to determine that men who ingest more than 67 grams per day of sugar have a 23 percent higher risk of developing a common mood disorder after five years than those who consume under 39.65 grams of sugar on a daily basis. It’s unclear why, but there was no indication of a similar link for women.
Our first thought upon reading this was of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers saying “I eat because I’m unhappy and I’m unhappy because I eat,” but the researchers say the link between sugar and depression was independent of the men's socioeconomic status, drinking, smoking, body weight, exercise level or physical health.
While the study simply shows a link and falls short of proving cause and effect, it does suggest that a lower sugar intake of sugar is associated with better psychological health.
“There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” lead study author Anika Knüppel told The Guardian.
D'ohn't tell Homer Simpson.