Study linking depression to sugar heaps on pressure to make healthy options ahead of government sugar tax

Alys Key
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His and hers: men with high-sugar diets are more at risk of depression (Source: Getty)

Men with sugary diets are more at risk of suffering from depression, a study has found.

Scientists at UCL have discovered that men who consume more than 67g of sugar a day increased their risk of having a common mental disorder by 23 per cent compared to those with low sugar diets containing less than 39.5g a day.

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The findings come as the rising price of sugar, combined with greater public awareness of the ingredient's effects, pushes many food and drink producers towards making low sugar or sugar-free options.

Matt Crossman, stewardship director at Rathbones, commented: “As consumers become increasingly aware of the link of high sugar intake with obesity and ill health, and as regulation gets tighter, it’s likely that many will start to turn to healthier alternatives. A key concern for investors is the effect this has on the profits of both producers and retailers of these products.”

Earlier this year, sales of sugar-free Coke matched the classic recipe for the first time, as sugar-free products drove the global soft drinks market.

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As well as changing consumer preferences, soft drink producers also face tightened regulation from the UK government when the proposed sugar tax comes into force next year.

Anika Knüppel, lead author of the UCL report, supported the tax. “There is increasing evidence for the physical damage sugar has on our health. Our work suggests an additional mental health effect. This further supports the evidence for policy action such as the new sugar levy in the UK, but this is not addressed in many other European countries.”

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