Americans are suffering from depression more than ever before.
Between viral threats (like COVID-19), stressors of everyday life, and moods that shift with the season…
Some folks feel like they just can’t catch a break.
No wonder one in six Americans take antidepressants! (And that number keeps going up.)
Or—is it really any wonder at all?
Let’s talk about it…
A “sweet” link
According to new data, the Standard American Diet (SAD), chockful of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), has been linked to an increased risk for depression.
Not only that, but artificial sweeteners skyrocketed this risk even further.
(UGH, yet another thing we do to ourselves with the helping hands of the very suggestive Big Food industry.)
For the study, researchers drew nearly 32,000 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study II. None had depression at baseline.
It turns out, those who consumed more than eight servings of UPFs daily saw a 50 percent higher risk of developing depression, compared to those eating four or fewer daily servings.
(Yes, you read that right—daily! Who has time to consume that much food?!)
But wait, that’s not all…
In a secondary analysis, researchers looked to tease out specific foods that could be associated with depression risk. They found that artificial sweeteners and artificially sweetened beverages held the highest risk.
Hmm… things I have been warning against all along!
Danger in the center aisles
We know UPFs—including sugar, artificial or not—cause overweight and obesity, so why do we continue consuming them!?
I mean, how many more adverse health conditions need to be linked to UPFs before they come with a warning label?
After all, in this study alone, compared to women with low UPF intake, those with a high intake had greater body mass index (BMI). They were also more likely to smoke, have diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia. And they were less likely to exercise regularly.
(I know this sounds silly to you and me, but I have to bet that many who chronically consume these foods have no idea they could have a deleterious effect on their bodies—physically and mentally.)
So, let’s not mince words here: UPFs are dangerous.
And they include a broad range of “foods,” like grains, sweet snacks, ready-to-eat meals, sauces, processed meats, beverages, and more. Basically, most things that line grocery store shelves.
That’s why I always advise shopping the perimeter of the grocery store if you’re unable to get to a local farmer’s marker or farm stand. Opt for grass-fed and -finished meat, wild-caught fish and seafood, organic produce, eggs, nuts and seeds, and plenty of water.
To learn more about how following a healthy diet can support your health AND your mood, I disclose SIX powerful “mood foods” in the March 2022 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (No. 2 might surprise you!).
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“Ultra-processed foods, especially artificial sweeteners, may increase depression risk.” MedicalNewsToday, 09/22/2023. (medicalnewstoday.com/articles/ultra-processed-foods-especially-artificial-sweeteners-may-increase-depression-risk)