Diet and chemical changes that lead to depressive cycles

Category: Blog

Research on diet and nutrition of patients with depression show that their eating habits are frequently irrational and result in the inconsistent supply of nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, the deficiency of which leads to nervous system dysfunction. 1

Doctors have recognized a vicious cycle in patients floating between diet changes and depressive feelings.

Eating fatty and sugary foods causes chemical changes in the brain

Even before obesity occurs, eating fatty and sugary foods causes chemical changes in the brain, meaning that going on a diet might feel similar to going through drug withdrawal, according to a study published by Dr. Stephanie Fulton of the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine and its affiliated CRCHUM Hospital Research Centre.

By working with mice, whose brains are in many ways comparable to our own, we discovered that the neurochemistry of the animals who had been fed a high fat, sugary diet were different from those who had been fed a healthy diet,” Fulton explained.

Brain chemicals changed by the diet are associated with depression

The chemicals changed by the diet are associated with depression. A change of diet then causes withdrawal symptoms and a greater sensitivity to stressful situations, launching a vicious cycle of poor eating.

The research team feed one group of mice a low-fat diet and a high fat diet to a second group over six weeks, monitoring how the different food affected the way the animals behave.

Mice that had been fed the higher-fat diet exhibited signs of being anxious, such as an avoidance of open areas.

Moreover, their brains have been physically altered by their experiences. One of molecules in the brain that the researchers looked at is dopamine. It enables the brain to rewards us with good feelings, thereby encouraging us to learn certain kinds of behaviour. This chemical is the same in humans as it is in mice and other animals. In turn, CREB is a molecule that controls the activation of genes involved in the functioning of our brains, including those that cause the production of dopamine. It contributes to memory formation. “CREB is much more activated in the brains of higher-fat diet mice and these mice also have higher levels of corticosterone, a hormone that is associated with stress.

This explains both the depression and the negative behaviour cycle

This explains both the depression and the negative behaviour cycle,” Fulton said. “It’s interesting that these changes occur before obesity. These findings challenge our understanding of the relationship between diet, the body and the mind. It is food for thought about how we might support people psychologically as they strive to adopt healthy eating habits, regardless of their current corpulence.” (1)

Your diet plan

There is a lot of supportive research that says changing diet, changes you. At the onset, for many it is obvious, dieting seems always to be accompanied by “grumpiness,” mood swings, and in the case fo the research above, depression and withdrawal like symptoms. This is why diet needs to be addressed in the context of mood. Our diet program re-programs you. At your very first visit, you start using our powerful behavioral modification system and learning tools. From then on, our Center staff charts and monitors your weight and progress each week until you achieve your goal weight.

Please contact us for more information on our healthy lifestyle diet choices

1. Stefańska E, Wendołowicz A, Kowzan U, Konarzewska B, Szulc A, Ostrowska L. [Does the usual dietary intake of patients with depression require vitamin-mineral supplementation?]. Psychiatr Pol. 2014 Jan-Feb;48(1):75-88.

2 University of Montrael Press Release