Tests on rats have found that a high fructose diet can have a negative impact on the ability to deal with stress.
Furthermore, the differences were more prominent in younger, ‘teenage’ rats.
Fructose is the type of sugar found naturally in fruits and honey, and is added to a lot of processed foods to give them their sweet taste.
After being fed a high fructose diet for ten weeks, the rats were exposed to high stress situations, such as having to swim.
The younger rats on the high fructose diet showed a much higher level of stress and cortisol, the stress hormone, in their bodies than the adult rats.
Of course, rats are not humans, and these tests do not say whether the same elevated level of stress would occur in people as a result of a sugary diet.
However, sugar is becoming known as a ‘silent killer’, and it can lead to obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Even if this finding about stress doesn’t apply to humans, a reduction in sugar will benefit other areas of health.