Last Updated on Saturday, 02 November 2013 07:34
Written by Judd Handler
Have you heard about the latest study from Harvard that links eating lots of pasta to depression?
In case you didn't hear about it, the research was published in the journal, ‘Brain, Behavior and Immunity,’ and tracked over 40,000 women over the course of a dozen years, and concluded that a diet high in carbs such as pasta can lead to a diagnosis of depression.
This study, so-called “The Nurse’s Study,” analyzed the women, all 50-77 years old, and none in the group had depression at the study’s onset. The study concluded that those women who ate lots of pasta (as well as processed red meat, sodas, and other unhealthy foods) were, on average, about 35% more likely to have been clinically diagnosed with depression.
The study might be shocking to some. After all, isn't pasta, one of the most popular comfort foods, essentially acting as an upper? Many regular pasta eaters feel euphoric after eating, so how could the research conclude that frequent pasta eaters were more likely to develop signs of depression?
Noodles, pasta and other products containing modern wheat have the same addiction properties as opiates. Just like drugs and alcohol, we feel happy within a short time after eating pasta, but those good vibes may be short-lived.
While this study wasn't designed perfectly, researchers speculate that products loaded with wheat--such as regular pasta--as well as sugar and processed foods cause inflammation. Inflammatory conditions in the body may be what’s causing the depression.
Why the love, then, for high-carb foods if they are generally bad for our health? It’s because high-carb foods are scientifically proven to be highly addictive. Numerous studies, such as this meta-analysis published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, (a review of dozens of studies) provide ample evidence of sugar’s addictive nature.
The meta-study concludes, “Access to sugar can lead to behavior and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse.... According to the evidence…access to sugar...is capable of producing a ‘dependency’.”
It’s not necessarily the running-on-empty sensation that causes us to binge on high-carb meals; trytophan, the same amino acid responsible for making you feel sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal, is elevated in your bloodstream after a high-carb meal, producing a tranquilizing, sedative effect.
Maybe when we’re stressed, that’s why we reach for a high-carb option: we want to be tranquilized. The next time you’re tempted with a high-carb option, do two things: look at the high-carb option the same way you would an illegal drug and avoid at all costs.
It might not make you happy at first, but it will in the long run....