Carbs and depression

Medical News Today posted an interesting article on how a high GI diet my have an impact on mood disorders. There is a link between carbs and depression. This was especially true for women who where postmenopausal.

The author of the article, Peter Lam, begins by identifying the different types of carbohydrates. He explains that carbs that come from refined grains, white flour, white bread and rice are the ones that have the least nutritional value and increase glucose in the bloodstream. This occurs as carbs are broken into sugar (then glucose). GI or the glycemic index measures the body’s sugar levels after you eat. When you eat a high GI food it is quickly broken into sugar and enters the bloodstream. This causes a number of health issues like obesity and diabetes. Those foods with low GI brake down slower and enter the bloodstream slowly (i.e. better for the body).

The article pointes to the foods with the highest GI:

  • White bread
  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
  • Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers.

So now to talk about how this is related to depression. The article states, “High-GI diet increased depression risk by 22%”. A longitudinal study (8 years tracking their health) of 90,000 postmenopausal women.  “They examined the levels of depression reported, the types of carbohydrates consumed, the GI rank and the glycemic load. It was found high-GI diets increased the risk of depression in postmenopausal women by 22%. Also, a higher consumption of lactose, fiber, non-juice fruits and vegetables was significantly associated with a lower chance of developing depression.”

Finally, it is mentioned in the study that a possible preventative measure could be looking at a low GI diet for postmenopausal women with depression.

“This year, Medical News Today reported how a low-GI diet may have a significant impact on autism spectrum disorder symptoms. In addition, a study found a vegan low-carbohydrate diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.”


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