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Snacks laced with real sugar inhibit the stress-related hormone glucocorticoid linked to obesity and decreased immune response, Ohio researchers say.
The research, reported at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, examined rats' response to stress.
"The sweets we are talking about are not the low-calorie, sugar-substitute variety," said University of Cincinnati researcher Yvonne Ulrich-Lai in a United Press International report. "We actually found that sugar snacks, not artificially sweetened snacks, are better 'self-medications' for the two most common types of stress—psychological and physical."
Researcher James Herman said the next step is to determine how sweet snacks decrease production of the stress-related brain hormone.
While the Ohio scientists said rats that ate the sugary treats gained no weight, other researchers have noted that — unlike humans — rats cut back on their usual chow when they snack.