Eating poorly ‘can increase the risk of depression’

A new study has found that the ingestion of trans-fats and saturated fats increase the risk of suffering depression while olive oil protects against this mental illness.

Last Updated: Jan 27, 2011, 12:15 PM IST

Washington: A new study has found that the ingestion of trans-fats and saturated fats increase the risk of suffering depression while olive oil protects against this mental illness.

Scientists from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria confirmed this after studying 12,059 SUN Project volunteers over the course of six years.

The volunteers had their diet, lifestyle and ailments analyzed at the beginning of the project over its course and at the end of the project.

At the beginning of the study none of the volunteers suffered from depression but at the end of the study 657 new cases had been detected.

Of all these cases, the participants with an elevated consumption of trans-fats (fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced pastries and fast food, and naturally present in certain whole milk products) "presented up to a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats," affirmed Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, first author of the article.

In addition, the study demonstrated a dose-response relationship, "whereby the more trans-fats were consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced in the volunteers," the expert stated.

Furthermore, the team, directed by Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, also analyzed the influence of polyunsaturated fats (abundant in fish and vegetable oils) and of olive oil on the occurrence of depression.

"In fact, we discovered that this type of healthier fats together with olive oil, are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression," said the researcher and director of the SUN Project.

The study was published in the online peer reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

ANI