Researchers from Columbia have conducted a study which indicates that an increased consumption of refined carbohydrates leads to an enhanced risk of depression among postmenopausal women. Refined carbohydrates trigger a hormonal response that decreases the blood sugar levels. Along with the reduced blood sugar levels one may also experience depression symptoms such as fatigue and mood swings. Refined carbohydrates include white rice, white bread and junk foods. The paper was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study involved 87.618 postmenopausal women who between 1994 and 1998 participated in the National Institutes of Health’s Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Three years later 69,954 of the participants took part in the follow-up interview. The research team which conducted the study was led by James Gangwisch of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.
The findings of the study indicate that if the measure of sugar in the blood, the glycemic index, was higher it was also associated with 22 percent increased chances of developing depression. In addition higher amounts of dietary added sugars were linked with 23 percent increased chances of developing depression.
Carbs are macro-nutrients of high risk. They can trigger feelings of lethargy and boredom. An ideal diet should be low in carbs, high in proteins and moderate in fats. Such a diet keeps hormones such as glucagon and insulin in synch. On the other hand refined carbohydrates mess the body’s basal system.
However the study has good news as well. It seems that the chances of developing depression can be reduced by increasing the consumption of non-juice fruits, whole grains, dietary fiber and vegetables.
The study is only preliminary, but it confirms the alarm signals regarding the effects which an increased consumption of refined carbohydrates could have not only on the physical health but also on the mental health.
Further research is needed in order to fully understand the connection between depression and junk food. However it is clear from the findings of the study that depression could be prevented through dietary changes. The researchers involved in the study hope that the current study will be replicated and also include larger population samples. They also hope it will include not only women but men as well.
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