You may want to rethink eating a candy bar to power through that 3 p.m. slump because the idea of a “sugar rush” is nothing more than a myth. In fact, eating sugar actually makes you more fatigued, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people who ate sugary foods reported feeling more fatigued within an hour of consumption compared to those who didn’t eat sweet substances. What’s more, people who noshed on sugary snacks also felt less mentally alert compared to those who abstained. And while many believe desserts like ice cream make them happy, scientists found that sugar has no effect on mood.
Data from 1300 adults who participated in 31 different studies was used for the analysis, published in Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews. The team hopes their finding will dispel this myth and push people to find other sources of energy.
“Our findings very clearly indicate that such claims are not substantiated–if anything, sugar will probably make you feel worse,” said study co-author Konstantinos Mantantzis, PhD, in a statement.
So, what will keep you energized? Eating a combination of protein, fat, and carbs, said Valerie Goldstein, M.S., R.D. She previously explained to Men’s Health that a well-balanced meal keeps you going all day.
Her top picks for meal time include oatmeal with yogurt, hardboiled eggs, or even mussels, since it’s rich in B12.
“B12 is required for energy metabolism and the body cannot create on its own,” said Goldstein. “That vitamin is essential for turning the food we eat into energy.”
And of course there’s the common standby: coffee. But you might want to skip adding a spoonful of sugar.