We all know that a diet full of white bread and pasta is bad for our waistline. It's the reason grown men and women cry out, "No thank you!" and shake their heads like whirling dervishes whenever an innocent waiter approaches with a breadbasket. This may sound like an overreaction but a new study shows that white bread could be even worse than we thought.
In addition to being bad for physical health, research shows white bread can be bad for mental health too. According to the study, refined carbohydrates, the kind found in white bread, white rice and pasta, trigger a hormonal response that may cause depression. They found that the more added sugars and refined grains in a person's diet, the greater the risk for new onset depression. Those who ate a diet high in fiber, whole grains and vegetables had a decreased risk of depression.
Mental health professionals have largely ignored the role of diet in their clients' emotional wellbeing. Unless someone has an eating disorder or is too depressed to eat, what and when they eat has not been given much airtime. Doctors pay attention to signs and symptoms of mental illness. The fact that a client eats Wonder Bread for breakfast, a bagel for lunch and pasta with cheese for dinner has not been factored into their diagnosis or treatment.
Studies also confirm a relationship between unhealthy diet and poor mental health in children. Brightly colored drinks, candy and cereals (sorry Fruit Loop lovers) may be contributing to ADHD.
Thankfully this is now changing. As Dr. Jerome Sarris, a leader in the field, explained:
While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.
Nourish your body AND brain.