Foodfacts.com wants to pass this information along to our community, as we feel it can really help influence your eating habits and your life. A Spanish study published in the U.S. in early 2011 confirms that consumption of foods high in trans-fats and saturated fats increases the risk of depression. There had been previous studies linking fast food and junk foods to the disease and this most recent study confirms them.
Importantly, researchers also showed that products like olive oil, which is high in healthy omega-9 fatty acids, can fight against the risk of mental illness.
The study followed and analyzed the diet and lifestyle of over 12,000 volunteers for over six years. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had been diagnosed with depression. By the end of the study, 657 of the volunteers were new sufferers. Those volunteers with an elevated consumption of trans-fats which are defined as fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced foods and pastries) presented up to a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression in comparison to those volunteers who did not consume these fats. It was noted that the more trans-fats were consumed, the greater the harmful effect was produced in volunteers.
Simultaneously it was found that the impact of polyunsaturated fats which are composed of larger amounts of fish and vegetable oils, as well as olive oil, was associated with a lower risk of suffering depression.
It was noted that the test group for the study was composed of a European population that enjoys a relatively low intake of trans-fats, making up only about .4% of the total caloric intake of the volunteers studied. Regardless of the normally low levels of trans-fat consumption of the test group, there was an increase in the risk of depression of almost 50%. It was noted that the U.S. population derives about 2.5% of its caloric intake from these trans-fats.
Depression rates have been rising worldwide in recent years. This important study points to the possibility that that rise may be attributable to the changes in fat sources of Western diets. Gradually we have been substituting beneficial polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats derived from nuts, vegetables and fish for the saturated and trans-fats found in meats, butters and other mass-produced food products like fast food.
FoodFacts will continue to follow this and other similar stories and keep you updated