Friday, December 8, 2023

Skipping Breakfast, Pro-Inflammatory Diet Linked to Depressive Symptoms

Skipping breakfast and eating a diet high in foods associated with inflammation (for example, foods fried in oil) may raise the risk of depression, a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders has found.

Bo Li, Ph.D., of Jilin University in Changchun, China, and colleagues examined data from 21,865 adults who were participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2007 to 2018. During their participation in NHANES, the individuals completed two 24-hour dietary recalls where they reported what they ate and when. They also completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) as a measurement of symptoms of depression.

Li and colleagues assessed the participants’ diet via the dietary inflammatory index (DII). The DII calculates a score based on the amount of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and substances in a person’s diet that either promote inflammation, such as saturated fat or alcohol, or help inhibit inflammation, such as fiber. For this analysis, Li and colleagues classified participants with a DII score of ≥0 as having a pro-inflammatory diet and those with a score <0 as having an anti-inflammatory diet.

Overall, 77.6% of participants reported breakfast in both 24-hour dietary recalls, 16.3% reported breakfast in only one recall, 6.1% did not report breakfast in either recall, and 7.9% had depressive symptoms with a PHQ-9 score of 10 or more. Participants with depressive symptoms were more likely to be female, be inactive in physical activity, and smoke. They were also more likely to have higher energy intake, have diabetes, have cardiovascular disease, and eat a pro-inflammatory diet.

Participants who ate a pro-inflammatory diet had 1.42 times the odds of having depressive symptoms compared with those who ate an anti-inflammatory diet. Compared with participants who reported eating breakfast on both dietary recalls, those who did not report breakfast in either recall had 1.54 the odds of having depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the researchers found that skipping breakfast was associated with eating a pro-inflammatory diet.

“Skipping breakfast may increase the risk of depression by raising DII. We recommend regular breakfast to lower DII and further reduce the risk of depression,” they wrote.

For related information, see the American Journal of Psychiatry article “Association Between Systemic Inflammation and Individual Symptoms of Depression: A Pooled Analysis of 15 Population-Based Cohort Studies.”

(Image: Getty Images/iStock/Arx0nt

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