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Consuming highly refined carbohydrates increases risk of depression

A diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk for new-onset depression in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

They looked at the dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, types of carbohydrates consumed, and depression in data from more than 70,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the National Institutes of Health’s Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study between 1994 and 1998.

The investigators found that progressively higher dietary GI scores and consumption of added sugars and refined grains were associated with increased risk of new-onset depression in post-menopausal women.

Refined foods such as white bread, white rice, and soda trigger a hormonal response in the body to reduce blood sugar levels. This response may also cause or exacerbate mood changes, fatigue and other symptoms of depression.

* High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative First published June 24, 2015, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.103846 Am J Clin Nutr August 2015 vol. 102 no. 2 454-463

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