A firmly established link between ultra-processed foods and depression

A firmly established link between ultra-processed foods and depression
A firmly established link between ultra-processed foods and depression

A large study demonstrates a clear association between ultra-processed foods and increased risk of depression.

Ultra-processed foods: what are we talking about?

Ultra-processed foods are products that have been significantly altered from their original form through various industrial processes. These foods usually contain ingredients such as preservatives, sweeteners, artificial flavors and colors that are not found in a regular kitchen. Ultra-processed foods include, for example, ready-made meals or sodas.

These products are designed to be convenient, affordable and very pleasant in the mouth, often making them an attractive option for consumers. However, their high sugar, fat and sodium content raises many concerns about their impact on health.

Ultra-processed foods and depression: survey methodology

The study cited at the beginning of the article used data from the “NutriNet Brasil” cohort, designed to study dietary habits and chronic diseases in Brazil. All participants were adults aged 18 and older. During their follow-up, they completed a series of questionnaires intended to collect information on their sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle, eating habits and possible health problems.

Their possible depressive symptoms were assessed using a questionnaire 14 months after the start of the experiment.

Ultra-processed foods: a 42% higher risk of developing depressive symptoms

The researchers then noted a clear association between high consumption of ultra-processed foods and the appearance of depressive symptoms. Participants who consumed the most ultra-processed foods had a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms than those who consumed the least, even after adjusting for various data that could bias the results such as sociodemographic factors, lifestyle and overall diet quality.

“The main findings of our investigation are that the group of participants who consumed the most ultra-processed foods had a 42% higher risk of developing depressive symptoms over time compared to the group who ate the least,” said the study director. “In addition, a 10% increase in consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with a 10% increase in the risk of developing depressive symptoms,” he continues.

Depression: 300 million people affected

Depression affects approximately 300 million people worldwide and is a major public health problem.

Characterized depressive disorder affects all ages of life and concerns approximately 15 to 20% of the general population. “A depressive episode must be distinguished from ordinary fluctuations in mood. In the case of a depressive episode, the depressed mood is present most of the day, every day and for at least two weeks,” specifies the WHO.

-

-

NEXT Even at 60, go out covered: sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among “straight people of a certain age”