Columbia Med school study: junk food can increase risk of depression among older women.
Greater consumption of refined carbs, foods with added sugars, and foods that are high on the glycemic index is clearly linked to an increased risk of depression in post-menopausal women, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Over 70,000 postmenopausal women participated in the study, officially known as the National Institutes of Health’s Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.
Led by Dr. James Gangwisch of the Columbia University Medical Center, the study focused on the fleshing out the relationship between the types of carbohydrates consumed and the incidence of depression among participants.
Study results revealed a clear link between an increased risk of depression in older women and a diet high in refined carbs, foods with added sugars, and foods that are high on the glycemic index. The glycemic index, 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 also may cause or exacerbate mood changes, fatigue, and other symptoms of depression.
Unsurprisingly, the study found that participants who consumed more dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and non-juice fruits had a decreased risk of developing depression. This suggests that dietary interventions could serve as treatments and preventive measures for depression.
Further study is needed to see if similar results are found in the broader population.