The researchers concluded that even a small change in eating habits could alleviate depressive symptoms in young adults.
Science has now clearly established the impact of a poor diet on overall physical health. Drinking a large amount of processed and sugary foods increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Recently, researchers have begun to focus on health. Or unhealthy eating habits. According to the authors of the latest study, eating is now considered a “risk factor for depression.”
Although the evidence is increasing, many are observational. In other words, at present, it is difficult to ascertain whether eating a healthy diet relieves depression or is unhealthy eating habits.
Filling in the gaps
According to the authors, to date, only one randomized controlled trial has investigated dietary interventions in adults with a clinical diagnosis of depression. The 12-week research decided that “dietary supplements can provide an effective and accessible treatment strategy to control major eating disorders.“In this research, scientists wanted to know if depressed young adults could benefit from a 3-week dietary intervention. At the same time, they were interested in finding out if depressed adolescents could stick to a dietary intervention.
“adolescence and youthful adulthood are a high-risk time for depression, and critical periods for establishing health patterns – such as eating – are coming to adulthood.”
Researchers at the University of Macquarie, Australia, recruited 76 participants, ages 17 to 35, to investigate. All participants experience moderate to high symptoms of depression, and their standard diet includes high sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods.
Participants are divided into two groups of scientists; the “Food Change” Team and the “Permanent Food” Team. Science 13 Yin provided nutrition advice to the diet change group as a 13-minute video. Members of the group were promised a $ 60 gift card if they handled their shopping receipts at the end of the study with little disruption to healthy eating.
On the 7th and 14th, the food change team received two check-in calls. However, the “regular food” group did not receive food advice, free meals or gift cards; The research team asked them to return after three weeks.
At the beginning and completion of the 3-week study, all members passed through a test battery. Investigators assessed levels of depression and mood, anxiety and examined learning and reasoning skills.
As expected, participants in the experimental group adapted to dietary changes. In this dietary change group, depression scores improved significantly. Both anxiety and stress scores improved. Conversely, there was no significant difference in depression for the regular diet group. After three months, the researchers phoned 33 participants. Although only seven of these individuals maintained a healthy diet plan, it was still essential to improve the mood in this small group.
Although the present findings add to the evidence that diet plays a role in mental health, there are significant limitations to the study. First and foremost, the study recruited only a small number; The findings would not apply to other demographics as they were solely young adults attending university. Importantly, people on the regular food group do not receive any guidance, free food, and money incentives; This is noteworthy. Future studies may want to try to match the two conditions better. For example, both teams can receive the same financial reward and check calls.
At three months of follow-up, the research team did this by phone with only 33 participants, so it is difficult to extract the findings further. Because the link between nutrition and mental health is a hot topic, other researchers will publish similar studies thicker and faster. It is a challenge to investigate both nutrition and mental health individually, so examining the interactions between the two is still tricky.
Stating a clear picture of the role of food in psychological well-being is indeed complex. At the same time, the link between good eating and mental health is already strengthening.