New Study Shows Trans Fats Associated with Depression
Researchers from the Universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have found that consumption of trans and saturated fats increase the risk of depression whereas olive oil is protective against it.
In this latest study, the researchers followed 12,059 SUN Project volunteers over six years. The researchers analysed diet, lifestyle and health problems at the beginning, throughout and at the end of the study.
Results showed that despite the fact that none of the volunteers suffered from depression at the beginning of the study, at the end of the study, 657 new cases had been detected.
Interestingly, of all these cases, study volunteers who consumed high amounts of trans fats “presented up to a 48% increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats” said Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. He added that, “the more trans-fats were consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced in the volunteers”.
The researchers also looked at the effects of polyunsaturated fats found in fish and vegetable oils on the occurrence of depression. Professor Sanchez-Villegas commented,
“In fact, we discovered that this type of healthier fats, together with olive oil, are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression”.
Alarming statistics show that there are currently around 150 million people suffering from depression worldwide. The researchers believe that this staggering figure is in part due to the shift in our dietary patterns, away from polyunsaturated fats and towards saturated and trans fats;“radical changes in the sources of fats consumed in Western diets, where we have substituted certain types of beneficial fats – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated in nuts, vegetable oils and fish – for the saturated and trans-fats found in meats, butter and other products such as mass-produced pastries and fast food”.
The researchers have also noted the similar way in which both depression and cardiovascular disease are influenced by diet, and may share similar causes & roots of origin.
Rachel Bartholomew Dip ION MBANT
Source: Almudena Sanchez-Villegas et al. Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: The SUN Project PloS ONE, 2011; 6 (1): e16268 DOI: 10. 1371/journal.pone.0016268