A new study that links diets high in ultra-processed foods with a heightened risk of depression highlights the importance of having a balanced and nutrient-rich diet to maintain mental well-being. The study, which is the first of its kind to investigate the link between the two factors in Australians, found people who consume over 30% of their daily diet as ultra-processed foods are at a 23% higher risk of depression. While the study doesn’t prove that ultra-processed foods cause depression, it establishes an association that warrants more investigation. Mental illness is a major health problem and identifying the critical level of consumption that may increase the risk of depression will help consumers, healthcare professionals, and policymakers make more informed decisions around dietary choices, interventions, and public health strategies. As a psychiatrist, I encourage my patients to focus on nutrient-dense foods and maintain a balanced diet to promote not only their physical health but also their mental well-being.
Dr Sophia Rachel Johnson, MD, Cure of Mind