Poor diet linked to bipolar, depression, and schizophrenia

Researchers in Australia, Italy, UK, and USA recently published a study in World Psychiatry, showing a connection between nutritional intake and mental health.

The researchers analyzed the dietary intake and mental health of nearly 70,000 participants from the baseline phase of the UK Biobank study. Regarding mental health, researchers specifically focused on depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia.

Here are what the researchers found:

  • Participants with schizophrenia, bipolar, or depression had higher intakes of total energy, carbohydrates, sugar, total fat, saturated fat, and protein compared to those without severe mental illness.
  • Participants with schizophrenia or depression also had higher dietary inflammatory index scores.

The researchers concluded that those with severe mental illness “have higher intakes of obesogenic nutrients and more inflammatory diets than the general population.” Obesogenic nutrients are nutrients that lead to obesity (high calories, high carbohydrates, high sugars, high fats, etc). Learn more about inflammatory foods.

In conclusion, the researchers recommended that for dietary interventions for severe mental illness should focus on “increasing consumption of nutrient‐dense foods that are known to reduce systemic inflammation”.

This is one more study in a growing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 25 years.