The scientists involved in the new study analyzed the data collected from 19 women who participated as volunteers.
The study revealed that the women who consumed drinks that are sweetened with sugars had a reduced level of cortisol.
The researchers detailed the findings of their new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Kevin Laugero, an expert in nutrition at the University of California Davis and one of the lead authors of the new study, explained that this is the first time researchers have found a an evidence that consuming high sugar drinks may be responsible for relieving stress in humans.
However, the risk is that emotional or psychological stress could make people consume an unhealthy amount of sugar, which can lead to serious health conditions, like obesity and diabetes.
The study also revealed that the women who consumed sugary drinks experienced less nausea.
The researchers explained that the study included three stages. In the first stage, held at the University of California Davis for 3 days, the women were given low-sugar diets.
The second phase lasted 12 days, during which the women left the study facility and were given to drink sugary or aspartame-sweetened drinks. The participants were allowed to eat what they usually did but were not allowed to drink other sugary beverages than the ones given by the researchers.
In the final stage of the study, the participants were asked to return to the facility and spend more than three days, during which they had to drink sugary drinks or aspartame-sweetened beverages.
The scientists then collected urine samples to make sure the women complied.
During the time the women were inside the facility, they had to undergo an fMRI and saliva samples were collected in order for the researchers to examine the concentration of free cortisol.
Laugero and his team found that the women who consumed the sugary drinks had a significantly higher concentration of activity induced by stress in the left side of the hippocampus. This area is usually inhibited when there someone experiences acutely stressful situations.
The scientists explained that, while sugar can offer short-term benefits, like reducing stress levels, it is known for its damaging effects.
Laugero added that some people are caught in a vicious cycle: some eat because they are very stressed, and their eating causes them more stress.
Image Source: images.china.cn