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Sugar intake linked to depression in men

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Men with a sweet tooth could be making themselves anxious and depressed by consuming too much sugar, a UK study suggests.

Scientists found that men who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar per day increased their risk of mood disorders by more than a fifth compared with those with an intake of less than 39.5 grams.

"High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men," lead researcher Dr Anika Knuppel, from University College London's Institute of Epidemiology and Health, said.

"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," Dr Knuppel said.

"There is increasing evidence for the physical damage sugar has on our health. Our work suggests an additional mental health effect."

But Australian expert Dr Anna Kokavec is not convinced.

Dr Kokavec is an experienced biological researcher, currently working as a psychologist in private practice and as a research consultant at Victoria University.

She says there is little in the findings to confirm that sugar causes depression.

"The science confirms that sucrose can significantly increase insulin level, which subsequently can affect the uptake of tryptophan and alter the synthesis of serotonin," she said.

While low serotonin is a key factor in depression, the biological factors associated with the mental disorder need to be investigated before any conclusions about sugar can be made, she said.

"This is a self-report study that has not looked at biological factors. It is purely reporting questionnaire data," Dr Kokavec said.

© AAP 2017 Photo credit:  AAP Image/Dave Hunt

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