People in need of a jolt of energy who reach for a sugary drink or snack might be doing precisely the wrong thing, a new study suggests. Researchers in Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews makes the case that the "sugar rush" is a myth, reports MedicalNewsToday. In fact, people who reach for sugar tend to feel more tired within a half-hour and less alert an hour after consuming it, the very opposite of the intended effect, per IFLscience. This was a meta-analysis study, meaning it gleaned data from previous research—31 studies in this case, involving more than 1,250 participants—to get a sense of how carbohydrates such as sugar and starches affected people.
"The idea that sugar can improve mood has been widely influential in popular culture, so much so that people all over the world consume sugary drinks to become more alert or combat fatigue," says researcher Konstantinos Mantantzis of Humboldt University of Berlin, per a news release. "Our findings very clearly indicate that such claims are not substantiated—if anything, sugar will probably make you feel worse." What's more, the scientists suggest that the rise in obesity and diabetes is being fueled by this misguided sense that a quick sugar break will help them perform better. (Did the sugar industry suppress research?)