Watch out for those
refined carb food binges. A new study published in The American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition has revealed a diet high in refined carbohydrates may
lead to an increased risk of depression in postmenopausal women. One might also
assume the foods are trouble for men, but women have higher rates of depression
Carbs are found in a
wide variety of foods and have often been the focus of new weight-loss diets.
However, the emphasis should not be on how many carbohydrates we eat, but the
are contained in refined grains, such as white flour, white bread and white
rice. They differ from whole-grain foods because they have been milled - a
process that increases the texture and shelf life, but that also removes much
of the nutritional value which includes important fiber and vitamins.
are eaten, some of the sugar is broken down into glucose that then proceeds to
enter 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.
Low glycemic index
foods take longer to digest and break down and, therefore, enter the blood
stream slowly. Thus the blood's glucose level raises more slowly over an
extended period of time.
High glycemic index
foods cause a more rapid rise of the blood's glucose level. Refined grains fall
into this category, and it is this reason why a high glycemic index ( refined
carbs) diet can lead to a host of health problems, such as insulin resistance,
obesity and type two diabetes.
Foods that have some
of the highest GI scores include white bread, breakfast cereals like puffed
wheat and rice and corn flakes, also instant oatmeal. Pasta, crackers, cookies,
pretzels and popcorn.
Doctors at Columbia
University Medical Center (CUMC), NY, set out to investigate the relationship
between a diet high in refined carbohydrates and depression.
analyzed data 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 observational study enlisted
postmenopausal women between the ages of 50-79 and tracked their health over an
average of 8 years.
They examined the
levels of depression reported, the types of carbohydrates consumed, the GI rank
and the glycemic load.
It was found that refined carb 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 associated with a lower
chance of developing depression.