Highly Refined Carbohydrates May Increase Depression Risk for Some Women

A Bowl of Sugar

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (UPI) — A diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice and many junk foods, may increase the risk of depression in postmenopausal women, according to a new study.

While carbohydrates typically increase the amount of sugar in the blood, more highly refined carbohydrates trigger a hormonal response in the body to lower blood sugar that may also have an effect on mood, fatigue or other symptoms of depression, according to a press release.

James Gangwisch, PhD, and colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center reviewed data collected between 1994 and 1998 as part of the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, considering medical data for 87,618 women initially involved in the study and the 69,954 who participated in a 3-year follow-up interview.

Glycemic index, a measure of sugar in the blood, that was progressively higher increased the chance of developing depression by about 22 percent, and higher amounts of dietary added sugars increased the chance by about 23 percent.

The study also showed that increased consumption of dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and non-juice fruits was associated with decreased risk of depression.

While further study is needed to understand the link between depression and junk food, the researchers said the results of the study suggest that dietary changes could help prevent depression.

The study is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


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