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The Western Diet Essay

1203 words - 5 pages

The Western Diet mainly consists of fried foods, refined grains, sugar, high carbohydrate and fats, and meats (3). It has been hypothesized that having a Western Diet increases one’s chances for developing depression. There has been a great deal of research into why the western diet increase’s one chance of having depression. A common sense reason maybe that the Western Diet consisted of large amounts carbohydrates, fats and sugars which promotes obesity and then causes depression (1). More scientific evidence suggest that having a improper diet like the Western Diet negatively affects peripheral and central dopamine, which are neurotransmitters (chemical which transmit signals across the synapse from the nerve cell to the target cell) directly linked to the mental health of the brain and are negatively affected by high fat diets (4). Research has also suggested that having a poor nutrition status such as lacking folate (a natural water form of vitamin bg which is crucial for many of the bodies processes) and key vitamins like vitamin b12 significantly increases the risk of depression in elderly people (5). Research into the topic of dietary habits and mental health is very crucial with the growing rates of obesity and depression in the United States compared to the rest of the world. Thus, does having poor dietary habits increase the likelihood of having depression? The likelihood of developing depression has been linked to the type of diet one consumes such as the Western Diet, Diets Low in Fat and Carbohydrates and weight control diets like binge eating.
America’s obesity rates and depression rates continue to proportionally rise every year compared to the rest of the world (3). Is a Western Diet, which is a diet that mainly consists of meat, fried foods, refined grains, and sugar, the main contributor to the raise in obesity and depression in Americans? 1494 women ages 20-94 between the years of 1994 to 1997 were randomly selected to be in an epidemiological study (3). This study examined how mental health (dependent variable) was affected by having a Western Diet (independent variable). The subjects were evaluated by dietary and psychiatric assessment. The covariates of the study were socioeconomic standing, drinking, smoking, Body Mass Index and physical activity levels. The subjects were asked to return in 10 years for a follow up appointment. 881 of the original participants returned for the appointment from 2004 to 2008. Participant’s diets were assessed through questionnaires. Psychiatric assessments were given with a 12 item version of the general health questionnaire. Regressions were ran with the data and the results showed that foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and whole grains were associated associated with lower odds for major depression and anxiety. The Western Diet which consisted of mainly fried foods, sugar, and grains had a negative effect psychologically. It was also found that the worse the diet is (more...

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