In our health conscious times they are often regarded as the pariahs of the office tea round.
But for those facing colleagues’ disapproval as they shovel the sugar into their tea, there’s a new excuse: ‘I’m just trying to ease the stress of the working day.’
Psychologists have found that sweetened drinks make people less aggressive and argumentative.
De-stress: Having a sweet cup of tea could make you less aggressive
De-stress: Having a sweet cup of tea could make you less aggressive. (Posed by models)
It is thought that the sugar rush provides the brain with the energy it needs to keep impulses under control, stopping us from lashing out when under pressure.
‘When provocation is likely, for example, when encountering a difficult supervisor at a work meeting, drinking a sweetened beverage prior to this encounter might increase one’s ability to effectively inhibit aggressive impulses,’ said the researchers.
‘Consuming a sweetened beverage on the commute home following a stressful day could reduce aggression toward family members or fellow drivers.’
The calming effect of a sugary drink was discovered by Australian psychologists who gave lemonade to a group of men and women. Some was sweetened with sugar, the rest with an artificial sweetener.
WHY IT’S A MISTAKE TO BE RUDE AT WORK
Any kind of rudeness at work can lead to mistakes by staff, according to experts.
If you are rude to colleagues, they are rude to you or if you merely witness rudeness, errors are far more likely to occur, studies have shown.
Rhona Flin, professor of applied psychology at the University of Aberdeen, said being the victim of rudeness can impact on how people perform tasks.
Human attention ‘is powerfully driven by emotion’, she wrote in the British Medical Journal.
In one study, students who were insulted by a professor on the way to the test performed worse on a series of memory tasks than others who had not been spoken to rudely.
‘This reaction is probably caused by the emotional arousal caused by the rudeness, which resulted in a switchover of cognitive capacity to deal with the required emotional processing, or it may, more simply, be caused by distraction,’ Professor Flin said.
The volunteers were set a series of stressful tasks, culminating in preparing a speech. After giving their talk, some were provoked by being told the content was boring and disappointing.
Those who had drunk the sugary lemonade rose less to the bait, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reports.
The researchers, from the University of New South Wales and Queensland University, said the brain needs sugar, or glucose, to power ‘executive functioning’, which includes the ability to control actions.‘
One method of increasing the energy available to the brain for exercising executive control is by increasing blood glucose levels,’ they said.
‘Additional glucose should provide the energy necessary to restrain aggressive impulses when provoked.
‘Despite the widespread notion that glucose consumption can lead to a “sugar high” resulting in impulsive behaviour our data suggest that glucose can increase executive control when provoked.’
However, sugar doesn’t always sweeten situations. Parents know to their cost how fizzy drinks can leave children full of beans.
And the researchers found that those volunteers who were not provoked after giving their speech became more aggressive after downing the sugary lemonade.
They were unclear why sugar winds us up when we are calm. Of course, sugar won’t do your teeth any favours. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel and irritates gums.