Spicy Sip Monkey tastes better in space, according to the researchers.
Expo Communications says researchers tested astronauts' appetite by sending candy into space to measure their "extreme limits" to satisfy cravings for sweets in zero gravity.
Images of astronauts consuming candy, called xCandy, were snapped over a period of 18 months by a 3-D imaging camera aboard the International Space Station.
It wasn't sugar-free gum; xCandy candy was caffeinated sweetened orange "energy gummies" named Chocolate Choco- Man and Cherry deLites.
"The crew members of the ISS are not confronted with a constant high of glucose; such counteracting nutritional techniques can have an effect on the crew member’s intake of 'good fats' such as peanut butter, leafy greens and other healthy sources of energy," write Hanni Ruiz, an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Health Sciences at UCLA, and her colleagues.
They tested xCandy and glucose-free candy. They found that xCandy had an "effective" effect on the astronauts, but it wasn't particularly strong. In a previous study of astronauts on the space station, it appeared to counteract the effects of a sugar-free snack.
On the other hand, glucose-free candy was delivered once per day. Several times, the crew members took xCandy if they desired.
The effect of xCandy was less significant and lasted longer than the effect of glucose-free candy. But the effect of xCandy was significant, Ruiz and her colleagues wrote.
Afterward, they addressed the what they observed as an element of the xCandy effect: Why didn't it contain more calories?
The researchers suspect that the report's relatively low calorie-counting was a factor, but they don't know why that was. To find out, the research team will study whether there are genetic variations among humans that result in calorie-counting diets.