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Sweets may zap your energy, not boost it

A woman yawns.

May 2, 2019—You're dragging. But think twice before you reach for a sugary snack or drink to boost your energy. New research shows that consuming sugar won't make you any more energetic—or sweeten your mood. In fact, it might make you feel worse.

Researchers analyzed 31 studies involving nearly 1,300 adults to assess sugar's effect on energy and aspects of mood, such as anger and depression.

They also considered the quantity and type of sugar. And they factored in whether engaging in demanding mental or physical activities after consuming sugar had any impact on mood or alertness.

Myth busted

The study found that a hit of sugar has virtually no effect on mood. That held true regardless of how much sugar the study subjects consumed or their activity level.

The study also revealed that people who gobbled sweets felt more tired and less alert than those who abstained.

The idea of a sugar rush is a myth—and a harmful one, the researchers cautioned. Added sugar has zero nutrients, according to the American Heart Association. And too much in your diet can lead to extra pounds and even obesity, which can harm your heart.

What's more, exercise is a far better pick-me-up, for both your energy level and your mood. The take-home: For a jolt of energy, try a brisk walk instead of sugar.

The study appeared in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.

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