Untitled design-14A new study published in The American journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that a diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk of depression in postmenopausal women.

Carbohydrates have often been the focus of weight-loss diets. However, the type of carbohydrates we eat should be emphasized, not how many we eat.

Refined carbohydrates are found in refined grains, like white flour, white bread and white rice. They are different from whole-grain foods because they have been milled – a process that increases the texture and shelf life, but that also removes a lot of the nutritional value, including fiber and vitamins.

When carbohydrates are eaten, some of the sugar is broken down into glucose that enters the bloodstream. The glycemic index (GI) is a metric tool used to measure and rank the extent to which our body’s sugar levels are raised after eating.

Foods with a low GI take longer to digest and break down, and enter the blood stream slowly. This causes the blood’s glucose level to be raised more slowly over a longer period of time.

However, foods with a high GI cause a faster rise of the blood’s glucose level. Refined grains fall into this category, and it is a reason why a high-GI diet can lead to health problems including diabetes and obesity.

Foods that have some of the highest GI scores include:

* White bread

* Corn flakes, puffed rice, instant oatmeal

* Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix

* Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn and saltine crackers

James Gangwisch, PhD, and colleagues, from the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), N.Y. investigated the relationship between a diet high in refined carbohydrates and depression.

They analyzed date from more than 90,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the National Institutes of Health’s Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study that was conducted between 1994-1998. The study enlisted postmenopausal women between the ages of 50-79 and tracked their health over an average of 8 years.

They looked at the levels of depression reported, the types of carbohydrates consumed, the GI rank and the glycemic load.

The researchers found that high-GI diets increased the risk of depression in postmenopausal women by 22%. Also, a higher consumption of lactose, fiber, non-juice fruits and vegetables was significantly linked with a lower chance of developing depression.

The study concluded that further research should be done to see if a low-GI diet could serve as a treatment or primary preventive measure for postmenopausal women suffering from depression.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimate only 7% of Americans eat enough whole grains in their diet.

medicalnewstoday.com  August 6, 2015

Pin It on Pinterest