Study: Carbs, Junk Food ‘Definitely’ Linked to Depression

Study: Carbs, Junk Food ‘Definitely’ Linked to Depression
Food and Diet

If you’re feeling down, you might be tempted to reach for some sort of comfort food like bread or cupcakes, or maybe a big bowl of spaghetti. But if you’re a woman, you should know that doing so puts you at greater risk of developing full-blown depression after menopause – at least that is what one study is reporting.

A recent Columbia University study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that while previous studies have suggested an association between consuming foods high in carbohydrates and sugar and depression risk, “any influence that refined carbohydrates has on mood could be commensurate (corresponding in size or degree) with their proportion in the overall diet.” [1]

The researchers factored in glycemic index (GI) into the study. The GI scale runs from 0-100 and measures the amount of sugar in the blood after eating; highly refined carbs rank higher on the GI scale—and glycemic load, as well as overall carb and sugar intake.

Excessive glucose levels in the body trigger a hormonal response that reduces blood sugar. This same biological response may also trigger or worsen mood changes, fatigue, and other symptoms of depression.

For the study, scientists analyzed data from 70,000 postmenopausal women who’d participated in a separate study between 1994 and 1998 and found that a high GI index score was commensurate with a 22% increased risk of depression. Women who consumed large amounts of added sugars and refined grains were found to have a 23% increased risk of depression.

Read: 7 Solutions for Alleviating Depressions

Women with healthy diets were found to have a decreased risk of depression, however, including those who ate more whole grains, vegetables and dietary fiber. [1]

In 2012, a research team from Harvard School of Public Health released the results of a 12-year study designed to determine the association between foods loaded with carbs and depression. Researchers asked more than 43,000 women with no history of depression about their eating habits and oversaw blood-testing. Women who ate a lot of red meat and refined grains such as bread, pasta, and chips were found to be 29 to 41% more likely to be diagnosed with or receive treatment for depression.

Why carbohydrates are linked with depression is not completely understood, though other studies have certainly drawn a link between junk food and depression as well – so something is there. For now, people can decrease their chance of experiencing the ailment by eating a diet rich in olive oil, coffee, wine, fish and certain vegetables.

[1] Fox News

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