Depression and junk food

Listen, depression is depression: you can have it regardless of your circumstances and if you think you can cheer someone up out of it with a tickling stick, you’re off my Christmas list. And I mean my Christmas present list, not just the cards.

But it’s also true that there are things that do and don’t help. Plus, depression like anything else is affected by our bodies and the stuff going on in there. So this Time feature on research into whether junk food nobbles us is interesting, if a bit inconclusive:

Diets higher on the glycemic index, including those rich in refined grains and added sugar, were associated with greater odds of depression, the researchers found. But some aspects of diet had protective effects against developing depression, including fiber, whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables and lactose, a sugar that comes from dairy products and milk that sits low on the glycemic index.

Added sugars—but not total sugars or total carbohydrates—were strongly associated with depression.

Though the authors couldn’t pinpoint a mechanism from this study—it was associative—they note that one possibility is that the overconsumption of sugars and refined starches is a risk factor for inflammation and cardiovascular disease, both of which have been linked to the development of depression.This kind of diet could also lead insulin resistance, which has been linked to cognitive deficits similar to those found in people with major depression.

The Strange Link Between Junk Food and Depression – Mandy Oaklander, Time (29 June 2015)

Read the full piece.

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