Science News
from research organizations

Consuming highly refined carbohydrates increases risk of depression

Date:
August 5, 2015
Source:
Columbia University Medical Center
Summary:
A diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk for new-onset depression in postmenopausal women, according to a study. The study looked at the dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, types of carbohydrates consumed, and depression in data from more than 70,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative Observational Study between 1994 and 1998.
Share:
FULL STORY

A diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk for new-onset depression in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study by James Gangwisch, PhD and colleagues in the department of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) looked at the dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, types of carbohydrates consumed, and depression in data from more than 70,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative Observational Study between 1994 and 1998.

Consumption of carbohydrates increases blood sugar levels to varying degrees, depending on the type of food ingested. The more highly refined the carbohydrate, the higher its score on the glycemic index (GI) scale. The GI scale, which goes from 0-100, measures the amount of sugar found in the blood after eating. Refined foods such as white bread, white rice, and soda trigger a hormonal response in the body to reduce blood sugar levels. This response may also cause or exacerbate mood changes, fatigue and other symptoms of depression.

The investigators found that progressively higher dietary GI scores and consumption of added sugars and refined grains were associated with increased risk of new-onset depression in post-menopausal women. Greater consumption of dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables and non-juice fruits was associated with decreased risk. This suggests that dietary interventions could serve as treatments and preventive measures for depression. Further study is needed to examine the potential of this novel option for treatment and prevention, and to see if similar results are found in the broader population.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Columbia University Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James Gangwisch, PhD et al. High Glycemic Index Diet as a Risk Factor for Depression: Analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2015

Cite This Page:

Columbia University Medical Center. "Consuming highly refined carbohydrates increases risk of depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150805110335.htm>.
Columbia University Medical Center. (2015, August 5). Consuming highly refined carbohydrates increases risk of depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150805110335.htm
Columbia University Medical Center. "Consuming highly refined carbohydrates increases risk of depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150805110335.htm (accessed September 25, 2016).