Studies of diet and depression have focused primarily on individual nutrients.
To examine the association between dietary patterns and depression using an overall diet approach.
Analyses were carried on data from 3486 participants (26.2% women, mean age 55.6 years) from the Whitehall II prospective cohort, in which two dietary patterns were identified: ‘whole food’ (heavily loaded by vegetables, fruits and fish) and ‘processed food’ (heavily loaded by sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products). Self-reported depression was assessed 5 years later using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression (CES–D) scale.
After adjusting for potential confounders, participants in the highest tertile of the whole food pattern had lower odds of CES–D depression (OR = 0.74, 95% CI 0.56–0.99) than those in the lowest tertile. In contrast, high consumption of processed food was associated with an increased odds of CES–D depression (OR = 1.58, 95% CI 1.11–2.23).
In middle-aged participants, a processed food dietary pattern is a risk factor for CES–D depression 5 years later, whereas a whole food pattern is protective.
- © 2009 Royal College of Psychiatrists