Food and Mood – What to know
The recent article from the Harvard Medical Review on food and mood does a great job of pointing the finger of failure at mood, the failure being a moment of weakness in your diet, that leads you back down that path of sugar, but what about the mood that lies at the end of that path? This opening paragraph helps to bring the question.
If you’ve ever found yourself in front of the TV after a bad day, mindlessly digging ice cream out of the container with a spoon, you know that mood and food are sometimes linked. But while stress eating is a verified phenomenon, the relationship between food and actual mood disorders, such as depression, is less clear. Or, to put it another way: can the things you eat influence your risk for depression — and can dietary changes potentially improve your mental health?
So the question as you can see, is whether there is an issue with the long term outcome of your mental health, based upon foods going in first. Let’s re-state the question.
“Does your diet increase your risk of mood disorders?”
Image courtesy of Harvard Health Publishing https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/food-and-mood-is-there-a-connection?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GB20190327-Depression&utm_id=1286008&dlv-ga-memberid=10895353&mid=10895353&ml=1286008
I would answer, ABSOLUTELY YES. And I would start anecdotally, just considering what happens in the mind of a 30+ year old after they binge out on a pecan pie (I like using pecan pie because it is historically and generationally made with more corn syrup than just about any dessert I can think of). And in my experience, the person sitting on the couch, fifteen minutes after they had their double dose of pecan pie, is fatigued, and they are sluggish in thought. If they have any weight loss concerns, they are also mildly depressed, and beyond that they are feeling guilty.
What percentage of people are experiencing those symptoms? Maybe 20-30%? Perhaps it is 50%…. but I would argue from a perspective of experience, it is at least statistically relevant. As we read further into the article, it touches on the very early correlation found in a few scientific studies:
A 2014 study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that used data from the Nurses’ Health study did find an association between depression and a diet rich in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and red meat, says Chocano-Bedoya.
Similarly, a 2018 meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggested that high consumption of meat could be associated with risk of developing depression. However, at this point, there are so many different factors associated with depression it’s not possible to tease out exactly how much a specific food or dietary pattern affects risk, she says.
Even though this is early in the discussion and early in the literature, I believe it gives us one more reason to take it all serious. I love talking chiropractic care for health… reducing stress on the nervous system, and creating an opportuinty for incredible wellness. But like anything where you perceive the assistance is being done to you, vs you fighting to do it for yourself… it is easy.
I focus our energy on writing about these areas that require commitment, because ultimately, this is where the world falls short. How strong are you in your ability to fight your addictions, regardless of what they are.
Looking forward to continuing to help you trust that eating a high sugar diet, is the key to poor health, and that our leadership will help set you free from MANY health conditions.
Be well and be blessed! – Dr. E