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Sugar Avoidance As A Depression Treatment

Does cutting refined sugar from your diet really work in treating depression?  Find out here.

Does cutting refined sugar from your diet really work in treating depression? Find out.

What is Sugar Avoidance?

Cutting out refined sugar from the diet has been proposed to help depression in some cases.

How does Sugar Avoidance work?

There is evidence that eating foods rich in carbohydrates (sugar is a simple carbohydrate) produces a temporary improvement in mood. However, it has been proposed that some people have a sensitivity to refined sugar which leads to depression. Cutting out sugar therefore relieves the depression.

Is Sugar Avoidance effective to treat depression?

One small study has been carried out on patients whose depression was thought to be due to dietary factors. The researchers asked half of these patients to cut out caffeine and sugar from the diet and the other half to cut out red meat and artificial sweeteners. Depressed people who cut out caffeine and sugar showed more improvement. However, only a minority of the patients appeared to benefit specifically from cutting out sugar. There is no evidence on the effects of cutting out sugar in the majority of people who are depressed.

Are there any disadvantages?

None known.

Where do you get it?

It would be wise to seek the help of a dietitian to assess whether there is any sensitivity to sugar and to advise on changes to diet. Private dietitians are listed in the Yellow Pages.


 


Recommendation

Avoiding sugar may be helpful for the small minority of people who show a particular sensitivity to it. However, there is no evidence that it is helpful for most people suffering from depression. Indeed, eating sugar and other food rich in carbohydrates may lead to a temporary improvement in mood.

Key references

Benton D, Donohoe RT. The effects of nutrients on mood. Public Health Nutrition 1999; 2: 403-409.

Christensen L, Burrows R. Dietary treatment of depression. Behavior Therapy 1990; 21: 183-193.

back to: Alternative Treatments for Depression

APA Reference
Writer, H. (2008, November 4). Sugar Avoidance As A Depression Treatment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/alternative-mental-health/depression-alternative/sugar-avoidance-as-a-depression-treatment

Last Updated: July 11, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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