Beware Men: Sugar is Worse than You Think

The immense amount of sugar consumed in both the United Kingdom and United States has not only affected people’s physical health, but also their mental health. In the United Kingdom people are consuming two times the recommended amount of sugar. Another issue on the rise is depression, which may become the leading cause of disability by 2030 (Source: Nature News).  There was a study done in London which was aimed at seeing if there is a connection between high sugar intake and depression. The study was published in Scientific Reports, and consisted of non-industrial civil servants from the “Whitehall II Study”. Their initial sample size was 10,308 individuals, whose ages ranged from 35 to 55. Once separated by sexes, the 10,308 individuals consisted of 33.1% of them female, and 66.9% were male (Source: Nature News).

        The study was done in eleven phases and they used multiple methods in order to collect data about sugar intake and mental health of the participants. At each phase, the participants had to go through different tests and screenings. Most of the data collected was based off of the people’s self-reports. The types of data collection tools used were questionnaires, diet diaries, and doctor examinations. They also required participants to report on their other habits; such as, physical activity, smoking, amount of sleep, and alcohol intake. They also needed to account for diseases, and other physical issues, which may have been present in their participant pool. The researchers were able to account for some lurking variables that may have been present over the course of their study. The researchers needed to try and account for people who may have misreported their data. In order to adjust for this, they omitted data points that would be considered extremely far-fetched. The factors of this study included the amount of sugar consumed per day by the people in the study. In men, the top third of the study consisted of men who consumed above 67 grams of sugar per day, and the bottom third was men who consumed below 39.5 grams per day (Source: Nature News). The results of the study were a different than they were expecting because they only found a connection between sugar intake and increased depression risks in males.

        The results were that the correlation between sugar consumption and depression were only connected in men. They are unsure as why the connection was only present in the male population and not the women. This is concerning to men because a man who eats a lot of sugar will be 23% more likely to experience common mental disorders (Source: Nature News). This shows that men need to be careful about the amount of sugar they eat in order to reduce the risk of depression.

        Sugar is involved in many of our foods, even foods we would not consider to be high in sugar. Also, it is cheap and easy for people to get a huge soda which is full of sugar. For example, McDonalds has a one dollar any size promotion on their sodas. This means you can[JG1]  get a small or large soda for the same price. Sugary foods can be found easily on the cheap side; however, there are healthier food and drink options which are often found accompanying a high price tag. This may explain why sugar consumption has increased, because sugar is cheap, and more people can afford sugary foods over vegetables or fruits. One way to help the sugar epidemic is to lower the price of healthier alternatives, and/ or tax sugary products to make them more expensive.