October 17th, 2009 Professor David Diamond from the University of South Florida presented his findings about rats and sugar.
"Professor David Diamond, in the Departments of Psychology, Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, and a career scientist at the Tampa VA Hospital, investigated the effects of a typical American diet, which is high in fat and sugar, compared to an Atkins-type diet, which is high in animal and vegetable fat but low in sugar, on the physiology and behavior of rats."They found that rats which eat a typical high-fat, high carb diet are more anxious and gained more weight than the Atkins diet group of rats.
All groups were exposed to a traumatic event, a mild electric shock, and later when faced with the same circumstances, the American diet group showed signs of anxiety and fear, while the low carb group was less fearful.
"These [the American diet] animals also demonstrated other evidence of anxiety, such as greater startle responses and fear of a novel place. The Atkins diet rats, by contrast, exhibited no signs of anxiety when they were in the novel environment. The researchers also found that the American diet group gained significantly more weight than the groups fed the Atkins and control diets."A connection was made between sugar in combination with fat, as being the primary factor to obesity. However, the low carb Atkins diet, also with a high fat intake, was found to be an effective strategy to lose weight and, findings suggest, a reduction in anxiety and better performance under stress.