Tags: food | diet | depression | diet high in processed foods | junk food

Your Diet May Be Depressing You

Monday, 14 Dec 2009 10:06 AM

A new study connects food and mood, finding that a diet high in processed foods makes depression more likely. The study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry makes a strong case that processed junk food can trigger or contribute to depression, while eating whole and healthy food seems protective.

British and French epidemiologists analyzed food and mood data from 3,486 men and women (average age 55) in the Whitehall II study on London-based office staff. Each participant answered a food frequency questionnaire in which they were asked how often they had eaten a designated portion size of a food during the previous year (set responses ranged from "never" to "six or more times per day").

That data was then converted to a daily intake, and two dietary patterns were identified: the "whole food pattern" (defined by a high daily intake of vegetables, fruits, and fish) and the "processed food pattern" (characterized by high consumption of sweetened desserts, chocolates, fried food, processed meat, pies, refined grains, high-fat dairy products, and condiments). Five years later, all the participants answered a short questionnaire designed to measure symptoms of depression in the general population.

After adjusting for variables such as age and sex, the scientists found that high consumption of processed food was associated with increased likelihood of depression, whereas those who had the highest consumption of whole foods were least likely to be depressed, and even less likely than those in the whole food pattern who ate fewer whole foods.

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A new study connects food and mood, finding that a diet high in processed foods makes depression more likely.
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