Cutting down on refined carbohydrates such as white pastry products, white rice and processed junk foods decreases the risk of postmenopausal depression.
Already linked to a wide array of health issues, refined carbohydrates are now correlated in a new study with an increased risk of developing mood disorders, fatigue and depression in women after menopause.
The study, led by Ph.D James Gangwisch was conducted at Columbia University’s Medical Center Department of Psychiatry. The data used in the study was retrieved from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, spanning a four-year timeframe, between 1994 and 1998.
Initially, data was gathered on a sample population of 87,618 women. During the follow-up survey, only 69, 954 women responded.
However, the data was sufficient for the research team to correlate high refined carbs intake to onset depression and mood disorders risk. A dietary plan based mostly on refined carbohydrates also increases the glycemic index or blood sugar levels.
Hormonal responses, particularly in the case of women post-menopause are targeted at lowering the glycemic index, which by itself triggers another set of health complications. As the process takes places, women are more predisposed to fatigue, early depression and other disorders affecting their general mood.
The researchers found that a progressive rise in the glycemic index linked to a dietary plan including high intake of refined carbs resulted in the risk of developing depression increasing by 22 percent.
Adding more sugar to the dietary plan was also linked to a 23 percent increase of onset depression risk.
Reversely, when the research team looked at dietary plans that included vegetables, fruits, fiber and generally whole grains as an alternative to refined carbohydrates, they found a significant decrease of the risk to develop any of the disorders.
The longitudinal study established a clear correlation between a refined carbohydrates-rich diet and the risk such eating habits pose to women, particularly postmenopausal women.
The research team concluded that further studies would ensue to verify these findings, also based on larger population samples.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Photo Credits: tvnewsroom.org