A diet high in refined carbohydrates increases the risk of depression in some people, a new study finds.
Refined carbohydrates include foods like white bread, white rice and soda.
These foods have a high glycemic index, which causes a hormonal reaction in the body.
The hormone may, in turn, increase fatigue, mood changes and symptoms of depression.
The study looked at 70,000 post-menopausal women who were followed over a period of four years.
The researchers found that consumption of more refined grains and sugars was linked to depression.
Women who ate more vegetables, whole grains, dietary fibre and non-juice fruit, however, had a lower risk of depression.
The study’s authors write:
“The consumption of sweetened beverages, refined foods, and pastries has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of depression in longitudinal studies.
The results from this study suggest that high-GI diets could be a risk factor for depression in postmenopausal women.”
The research was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Gangwisch et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: Brandon Warren