‘Ultra-processed’ foods, especially artificial sweeteners, linked to higher depression rates in women…
That bag of chips or slice of frozen pizza might make you happy while you’re eating it — but it could make you more susceptible to sadness long after the last bite.
A new study published in the journal JAMA Open Network found that eating “ultra-processed” foods can contribute to a higher risk of depression.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed the dietary choices and mental health of more than 31,000 women between 42 and 62 years of age, according to the journal article.
The data came from the Nurses’ Health Study II, conducted between 2003 and 2017.
All participants filled out a food questionnaire every four years, disclosing whether they consumed ultra-processed foods (UPFs) or not.
To clarify…”Ultra-processed foods are those that include many preservatives, stabilizers, bulking or gelling agents, as well as artificial colours and flavours.”
“Ultra-processed foods include things like chips, candies, frozen ‘TV dinners,’ chicken nuggets, sodas, sugar-filled breakfast cereals and packaged soups (the ‘just-add-hot-water’ type).”
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that people who ate higher amounts of ultra-processed foods — in particular, artificial sweeteners and artificially sweetened beverages — were more prone to depression.
One possible reason is that artificial sweeteners cause chemical changes in the brain that can trigger the development of depression.
Those who had the highest intake of UPFs had a 34% to 49% increased risk of depression, the study found.
Many studies have documented associations between some food additives and cancer, hormonal changes, weight gain and mental health.
With that said, it is not surprising to me that there may be a link between ultra-processed foods and depression…