refined foods and depression

Study finds a link between refined foods and depression in postmenopausal women


Everyone likes to indulge now and again – and that includes satisfying our junk food cravings. From chips to pastries, soda pop and french fries, to doughnuts, chocolate and cake; the temptation is all around us. And yet, while these treats have widely been known and accepted as not the best for our overall diets, a recent study has now linked refined foods and depression risk in older women.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at the proportion of these foods in the overall diet of exclusively postmenopausal women. Intake of carbohydrates (sugars, glucose, sucrose, starch, etc), glycemic index (GI) andglycemic load was then measured. This helped to determine the particular type of effects these foods had on an individual’s blood sugar levels.

Findings indicated that progressively higher proportions of refined sugars, starches and carbohydrates were associated with increasing odds of incident depression. The results suggested that high-GI diets were a plausible risk factor for depression in postmenopausal women. Conversely, a higher intake of whole foods, fiber, vegetables and lactose was associated with a significantly lower risk for depression in this study.



Gangwisch, JE, Hale, L, Garcia, L, Malaspina, D, Opler, MG, Payne, ME, Rossom, RC, Lane, D “High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition August 2015 vol. 102 no. 2 454-463

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Written by Amanda Wyllie

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