A recently published Chinese study found that fried foods, especially french fries, cause symptoms of depression.
Another study is moving in this direction, supplementing the list of foods that impair mental health with another category of food. In particular, an Australian study for the first time found a link between a diet high in ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of depression.
According to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the risk of depression increases significantly among people whose daily the diet includes more than 30% of products with a high degree of processing. This category now includes many different foods, from cookies and ready meals or snacks to juices and seemingly healthier foods such as diet sodas, cereals, some fruit juices and yogurt desserts.
Dr. Melissa Lane, who completed her PhD research at Deakin University’s Food and Mood Center, in collaboration with Dr. Priscila Machado of the same university’s Institute of Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) and Associate Professor Allison Hodge of Cancer Council Victoria, studied any links between consumption of highly processed foods and depression in more than 23,000 Australians in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study.
The participants in the study did not initially receive any medication for depression and anxiety, and the research team followed them for a total of 15 years. She concluded that those who ate highly processed foods were about 23% more likely to be depressed than those who ate little or no.
“Even after controlling for factors such as smoking and lower levels of education, income, and physical activity that are associated with poor health outcomes, the results suggest that more consumption of highly processed foods is associated with a higher risk of depression,” notes Dr. . Melissa Lane.
“Given that depression is one of the most common mental disorders worldwide and is a major health problem that affects every aspect of a person’s life, we hope that this study will help improve mental well-being and direct efforts to prevent or reduce the prevalence, development and severity of depression in the community, ”concludes the expert.