Processed Foods Lead to Depression

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Processed Foods... Om Nom Nom Nom!A new dietary study by researchers at University College London in – you guessed it – London, have discovered a pretty staggering link between diet and depression.

The study followed 3,486 people, most of whom worked for the government, and tracked their diet. The participants were split into groups that ate either unprocessed whole foods, or subsisted mainly on a diet of fried food, processed meat, high-fat dairy products and sugar based treats.

The findings: The folks that ate the processed diet were 58% more likely to be depressed.

That’s a lot!

The study doesn’t say if it took into account the weight of its participants. Of course, without statistics I can’t say for sure, but I would assume that those participants with a diet heavy in processed foods had a higher incidence of being overweight. While  I’m certainly not saying everyone who is overweight is depressed, there are certainly societal pressures to being thin that can effect ones emotional well being. Which, in my humble opinion, is probably a huge part of the percentage.

Of course, that’s just my opinion. The study credits antioxidants for the boost in mood for the more wholesome foods, saying that the antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables are nature’s own special form of Xanax. Okay, so they didn’t actually use the word “Xanax”, but here’s what they did say:

“Our results suggest that consuming fruits, vegetables and fish may afford protection against the onset of depressive symptoms, whereas a diet rich in processed meat, chocolates, sweetened desserts, fried food, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products would increase people’s vulnerability. [...] The deleterious effect of a processed food diet on depression is a novel finding. Our research suggests that healthy eating policies will generate additional benefits to health and well-being, and that improving people’s diet should be considered as a potential target for preventing depressive disorders.”

Either way, the numbers are pretty staggering. Maybe it’s time for me to put away the Halloween candy.

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By Kimberly Miller for 92.3 NOW

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