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The Effects of Sucrose Consumption on Left-Frontal Asymmetry and Anger in Persons with Fibromyalgia Syndrome – Source: Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, Nov 2009

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Objectives: Previous studies suggest that a carbohydrate-restricted diet ameliorates chronic and idiopathic post-prandial [after eating, or PP] mood symptoms in persons with fibromyalgia syndrome [FMS].

These studies, however, shed no light on the PP effects of carbohydrate on mood and its electroencephalographic correlates. The present study measured the effects of sucrose on electroencephalogram [EEG] and mood self-report measures in persons with FMS and age-matched healthy normal controls [HNC].

Methods: The present investigation sought to determine the relationships between reported mood, relative left-frontal EEG asymmetry [rLFA] in the alpha band, and blood glucose at baseline and four PP epochs following ingestion of pure sucrose in female participants with FMS [N = 8] and HNC [N = 10].


• The FMS and HNC showed equivalent patterns of blood glucose throughout the study,

• But FMS patients showed elevated levels of depression, anger, and other indicators of distress at all time points.

• An interaction emerged for high alpha [8-12 Hz] rLFA between experimental epoch and participant group, indicating increased rLFA for the FMS group at post-prandial 60 minutes.

• The pattern of increased rLFA correlated with anger for the FMS group only.

• At baseline, rLFA was negatively correlated with depressive sympomatology for the HNC group, and uncorrelated in the FMS group.

Conclusions: Results support previous findings of decoupling of mood and EEG in persons with elevated depression levels, as well as a unique EEG response to carbohydrates for the FMS participants. These results are discussed in terms of an approach-withdrawal model of affect.

Source: Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, Nov 2009;17(4), 334 – 349. DOI: 10.3109/10582450903284737, by Shelley-Tremblay J, Ernst A, Kline JP. Department of Psychology, University of South Alabama, Alabama, USA.  

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9 thoughts on “The Effects of Sucrose Consumption on Left-Frontal Asymmetry and Anger in Persons with Fibromyalgia Syndrome – Source: Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, Nov 2009”

  1. beartow says:

    To Celia2000: Exactly. The same for me. In fact, my husband said if I eat chocolate I get really crabby!
    (Guess he is keeping a close eye on me)! Something I would never have known, but the cravings are so intense.
    Have to have either sugar or chocolate. I do good for awhile, then like an alcoholic I fall off of “the wagon”.

    I’ve often suspected this has something to do with having quite a heavy drinker in my family, although I absolutely CANNOT tolerate alochol. (That type of intolerance for alcohol was once discussed on ProHealth). Just a backwards form of glucose intolerance? Just can’t handle it. Good Luck!

  2. kcusa says:

    I have tried for years to cut back on the sugar. I used liquid stevia for some time, but it just doesn’t do the trick (taste wise)> When I quit smoking ALL I craved for was food with sugar. I gained 20pounds and felt worse carrying around the extra weight and so depression slipped in.
    What I would like to know is HOW DO WE EAT WITHOUT SUGAR. Knowing that it is detramental to those of us with FM there just doesn’t seem to be a way out. I can’t afford the food sold as organic, but even in that, there is SUGAR. I tried a Candida diet for a year and nothing changed.

    Sugar is an issue for ALL people. Maybe one day, through us with FM the medical researchers will find a link to not only help us, but for the whole human race!

  3. laurie77 says:

    I have FM, diabetes, arthritis and assorted other issues. I started a low carbohydrate diet 11 months ago to help manage my diabetes and get off so many meds. It was very hard for the first 2 months but I stuck with it. I did get the results I wanted for my blood sugar but I was surprised at what a HUGE reduction of FM symptoms I had as well(inflammation, aching, flareups, etc.) I am not in chronic pain all the time. I also lost 55 pounds and my moods are much improved. If I allow myself a special day and splurge on something sweet (like at Christmas) I wake up the following day feeling hungover, foggy, and very achy for several days afterward. I wish I had gotten off sugar and refined carbohydrates years ago.

  4. justplainsandi says:

    it makes no sense to me to just cut out sugar as a way to begin this change. it’s too small. what worked for me was to cut all carbs for 2 weeks, making sure that my supplements would fill nutritional gaps. i went full-blown atkins, eating only meats, eggs, leafy greens, berries, and fats. no other fruits, veggies, and no grains at all, for just two weeks to see how i felt.

    atkins touted his diet for weight loss. i used it for pain management. those first two weeks made me feel so much better and the diet was so easy that i read everything i could on this topic and kept at it. at first i thought to wait at least two months to add other foods and adding them one at a time, very carefully and slowly. i actually ended up staying on that strict diet for several years.

    this approach was the first thing that really helped me start bringing the long-term effects of allergies and pain under control. i had been a world-class chocohololic, and the pain relief was so great that i willingly gave away all the organic and designer chocolate i had stockpiled just in case i ran out and couldn’t get to the store.

    i should mention here that my body is super-sensitive to drugs, even over-the-counter medications. when it comes to pain-killers, i normally experience side effects long before any of the benefits show up. strong, dark chocolate had been a form of pain relief for me. the relief from changing my diet was greater than anything i’d experienced before that short of complete anesthesia. this dietary approach is still a major part of how my pain management regimen.

    1. Celia2000 says:

      I know sugar is VERY bad for me but I CAN’T get off of it. I wish there was somewhere I could go for two weeks to totally get off of sugar and get rid of the intense cravings. I live with someone who LIVES on sugar and chocolate and it is impossible to quit while around him. I don’t have the self-control needed to accomplish this!

    2. tinyhouse says:

      If you can’t quit, try adding more lean animal protein to your diet, a little in every meal. Eat as healthy as you can even if you’re still eating sugar. I’ve found it helps make the cravings less.

    3. alezandria says:

      I have slowly been giving up sugar and now that i limit it in everything i eat, i’ve noticed the difference it cause when i have some. I feel tired, bloated, irratable, headaches and even my heart flutters more. With firbro and heart conditions i have to be careful with my diet so far i gave up soda, then lowered all carbohidrates, increased my protein intake and now given up chocolate and i’ve been feeling a lot better, it is really hard to give things up but when your body is clear of it and you have some and feel the effects on you it gives you a new perspective on foods. Also a lot of foods have been adding extra niacin in which i don’t know if anyone else noticed makes the pain and swelling worse.

    4. pearls says:

      I was very intrigued by the comments of Justplainsandi. This makes good sense. In relation to that, I get a lot of mail from sources, such as Prevention Magazine, touting all the ways you can eat what you want and not have a bad effect on diabetes, as an example. They always show some delicious looking cake, brownies or other desserts. This makes no sense to me. I have managed to cut way down my intake of sugar, but it wasn’t through finding new ways to make my desserts sugarless. It was done by cutting out desserts! I usually eat yogurt as a dessert, but I’ll admit that it is difficult to find kinds that are not full of sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. It is really important to stay away from high fructose corn syrup because it seems to be especially addictive.

      Every morning I sweeten the oatmeal I share with my husband with 10 drops of liquid stevia and 5 more drops added to the milk I heat up to pour over it. If I add berries, I add more stevia. Perhaps those who don’t like the taste will find a different brand they like better. I wouldn’t just give up. It has really made a difference for my husband and me.

  5. joyk says:

    I work in the medical field, and recently finished a Continuing Education project that goes into great detail about how sugar is actually a poison. That is why we have all been having health problems that did not exist before sugar became a big part of our food consumption. early 1800s refining sugar from cane started in the West Indies, and soon they were growing and manufacturing the stuff faster than they could sell it. Before this time, sugar was not used at all, so we can eat just fine without it. We all have become accustomed to sweets. But it has been proven in scientific studies that sugar is actually a poison, defined as a substance that does harm. Sugar causes diabetes which leads to many things and to death. Sugar causes obesity, it deposits fat throughout our body and eventually around our organs, which also leads to many things and early death. Sugar affects the brain. It affects the skeleton, it interferes with healing. instead of it being a food, it is a drug, one we all are addicted to. It actually interferes with digestion too, so it robs us of the nutrients we do eat. But it tastes so good, we all have been blind to the connection. I still crave and eat sweets, and I know better. I do it without even realizing it. So it would take a complete overhauling of our cupboards and fridges, throwing out everything sweet. I have FMS, and I DO suffer after I eat sweets and or carbs in excess. I have more pain, and also major hot flashes after every meal, unless I stick to strict rules—veggies, fresh fruit, nuts, meat, etc.,
    water, water and more water, and I can have coffee or tea in limited amounts. One time I quit sugar, and felt like I had the flu for a week. There is a diet called sugarbusters, I think I will check it out.

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