Sugar Consumption Linked to Depression

Most of us know that sugar sends our energy levels crashing within mere hours. But few people may realize the connection between sugar and depression.

A new joint study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links a high glycemic diet to depression. The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that measures carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they increase blood sugar levels. For example: white bread is high on the glycemic index and whole grain bread is low on the index, with lower ratings being superior.

The study assessed the effects of consuming sweetened beverages, refined foods, pastries and other high sugar foods on postmenopausal women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study between 1994 and 1998.

The study found that as added dietary sugars increased, so did the risk of depression, with the highest levels of consumption linked to the highest incidence of depression. The more sweetened beverages, refined foods, pastries and other foods high in added sugar, the higher their risk of depression. The scientists also found that refined grains such as white flour products caused a marked increase in depression risk.

Conversely, the researchers also found a link between higher fruit and vegetable intake and a lower incidence of depression. While fruit tends to be relatively high in sugar, it did not have the same effect as added and refined dietary sugar intake. Researchers propose further studies to determine whether a low glycemic index diet might be used as a treatment for depression.

A low glycemic index diet has also been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. For a list of ratings of common foods on the GI scale, check out The GI Diet Guide. Keep in mind that the higher the number, the higher the food is on the GI scale, and the worse it is for your health.

In addition to recommending a low GI diet to my clients as a foundational step in improving their health, I also advise eating foods high in protein, fiber, or healthy fats whenever eating sugary foods. Protein, fiber and fat slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, thereby helping to regulate its effects on blood sugar levels.

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96 comments

Shae Lee
Shae Lee2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Caitlin L
Past Member 2 months ago

Thanks

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD2 months ago

tyfs

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Sue H
Sue H3 months ago

Thanks for this information.

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Paula A
Past Member 3 months ago

thank you for this

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David C
David C3 months ago

association does not equal cause and effect

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Mike R
Mike R3 months ago

Thanks

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Anna R
Anna R3 months ago

Thank you

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