This was an interesting study. Just published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, there’s some evidence that eating processed foods may trigger or contribute to depression – and eating whole and more healthful foods may be protective.
Epidemiologists analyzed food and mood data from 3,486 men and women, who’s average age was 55. Each participant completed a food frequency questionnaire – they were asked how often they had eaten a designated portion size of a food during the previous year (the answers ranged from “never” to “6+ times per day”).That data revealed two dietary patterns: the “whole food pattern” (defined by a high daily intake of vegetables, fruits, and fish) and the “processed food pattern” (characterized by high consumption of sweetened desserts, chocolates, fried food, processed meat, pies, refined grains, high-fat dairy products, and condiments).
Five years later, all the participants answered a short questionnaire designed to measure symptoms of depression in the general population. After adjusting for variables such as age and sex, the scientists found that high consumption of processed food was associated with increased likelihood of depression. And, those who had the highest consumption of whole foods were least likely to be depressed.