Summary of DGAC Depression and Diet Studies

Below I’ve summarized each of the 19 source studies pertaining to depression and diet used by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in the development of their Scientific Report as referenced in my post: New Dietary Guidelines Hazardous to Your Health? Studies are listed by their reference numbers as they appear in the DGAC report. Complete citations are at the bottom of the page.

175: Meat not evaluated.
182: Negative study about HEI-C adherence and risk for depression (meat not evaluated).
189: Processed foods pattern associated with higher risk for depression than whole foods pattern. Unprocessed red meat and poultry were not included in either of the dietary patterns examined.
190: Higher ratio of red meat to white meat NOT associated with increased risk for depression
191: Negative study that specifically found no association between high meat/high fish dietary pattern and depression risk.
192: “Healthy” dietary pattern associated with lower risk for depression compared to an unhealthy pattern. The only component of the “unhealthy” diet that was associated with depression risk was refined carbohydrate, specifically not the meat.
193: Negative study (meat lumped together with Western junk foods but still no association)
194: “Prudent diet” better than “Unhealthy diet” (in which meat was lumped together with “chips, crisps, and soft drinks”).
195: Diet highest in animal protein did not increase risk for depression in women (high animal protein diet not tested in men).
196: “Inflammatory Dietary Pattern” (in which red meat was lumped together with sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, diet soft drinks, margarine, other vegetables, and fish) associated with increased risk for depression.
197: Higher adherence to DQI-I does not reduce risk for depression. Meat not studied (the DQI-I doesn’t include a meat category).
198: Dietary pattern containing red and processed meats not associated with depression risk.
199: Meat/processed meat dietary pattern did not increase risk for depression.
200: “Prudent diet” better than Western diet (which lumps meat in with “sweet snacks like ice-cream, candies and chocolate, sweet soft drinks and juices, baked potatoes and French fries, French rolls, processed foods, high fat cheese and eggs”).
201: Higher adherence to Mediterranean diet associated with reduced risk for depression. Difference in meat consumption between high adherence and low adherence group was only 43 g or 1.3 oz of “meat and meat products” whereas high adherence group ate 194 fewer grams of dairy per day, 373 g more vegetables, 307 more g of fruit, and 64 more g of fish. [Therefore: 66% more legumes, 60% more cereals, 264% more fruit/nuts, 216% more vegetables, 61% less dairy and only 22% less meat.]
202 (an RCT): In healthy subjects, the AHA diet (which includes lean red meats) no different from Mediterranean diet with or without nuts (the Mediterranean diet emphasizes white meats over red meats) with respect to depression risk.
203: Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk for depression (however the Mediterranean diet is not only lower in meat than standard diets but is also lower in refined carbohydrates).
204: (an RCT): “Vitality Diet” (containing 6 servings of lean red meat per week) reduced risk for depression when compared to a “Healthy Diet” (containing 3.5 servings of lean red meat per week).
205: “Healthy diet” without meat reduced risk for depression in pregnant women compared to a “Brazilian diet” (containing an unquantified amount of meat) or a “Processed” diet (containing an unquantified amount of processed meat).


175. Psaltopoulou T, Kyrozis A, Stathopoulos P, Trichopoulos D, Vassilopoulos D, Trichopoulou A. Diet, physical activity and cognitive impairment among elders: the EPIC-Greece cohort (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition). Public Health Nutr. 2008;11(10):1054-62. PMID: 18205988.

182. Shatenstein B, Ferland G, Belleville S, Gray-Donald K, Kergoat MJ, Morais J, et al. Diet quality and cognition among older adults from the NuAge study. Exp Gerontol. 2012;47(5):353-60. PMID: 22386581.

189. Akbaraly TN, Brunner EJ, Ferrie JE, Marmot MG, Kivimaki M, Singh-Manoux A. Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age. Br J Psychiatry. 2009;195(5):408-13. PMID: 19880930.

190. Akbaraly TN, Sabia S, Shipley MJ, Batty GD, Kivimaki M. Adherence to healthy dietary guidelines and future depressive symptoms: evidence for sex differentials in the Whitehall II study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(2):419-27. PMID: 23283506.

191. Chan R, Chan D, Woo J. A Prospective Cohort Study to Examine the Association between Dietary Patterns and Depressive Symptoms in Older Chinese People in Hong Kong. PLoS One. 2014;9(8):e105760. PMID: 25148515.

192. Chatzi L, Melaki V, Sarri K, Apostolaki I, Roumeliotaki T, Georgiou V, et al. Dietary patterns during pregnancy and the risk of postpartum depression: the mother-child ‘Rhea’ cohort in Crete, Greece. Public Health Nutr. 2011;14(9):1663-70. PMID: 21477412.

193. Chocano-Bedoya PO, O’Reilly EJ, Lucas M, Mirzaei F, Okereke OI, Fung TT, et al. Prospective study on long-term dietary patterns and incident depression in middle-aged and older women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(3):813-20. PMID: 23885043.

194. Jacka FN, Cherbuin N, Anstey KJ, Butterworth P. Dietary patterns and depressive symptoms over time: examining the relationships with socioeconomic position, health behaviours and cardiovascular risk. PLoS One. 2014;9(1):e87657. PMID: 24489946.

195. Le Port A, Gueguen A, Kesse-Guyot E, Melchior M, Lemogne C, Nabi H, et al. Association between dietary patterns and depressive symptoms over time: a 10-year follow-up study of the GAZEL cohort. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51593. PMID: 23251585.

196. Lucas M, Chocano-Bedoya P, Shulze MB, Mirzaei F, O’Reilly É, Okereke OI, et al. Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women. Brain Behav Immun. 2014;36:46-53. PMID: 24095894.

197. McMartin SE, Kuhle S, Colman I, Kirk SF, Veugelers PJ. Diet quality and mental health in subsequent years among Canadian youth. Public Health Nutr. 2012;15(12):2253-8. PMID: 22414240.

198. Okubo H, Miyake Y, Sasaki S, Tanaka K, Murakami K, Hirota Y, et al. Dietary patterns during pregnancy and the risk of postpartum depression in Japan: the Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study. Br J Nutr. 2011;105(8):1251-7. PMID: 21144112.

199. Rienks J, Dobson AJ, Mishra GD. Mediterranean dietary pattern and prevalence and incidence of depressive symptoms in mid-aged women: results from a large community-based prospective study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013;67(1):75-82. PMID: 23212131.

200. Ruusunen A, Lehto SM, Mursu J, Tolmunen T, Tuomainen TP, Kauhanen J, et al. Dietary patterns are associated with the prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms and the risk of getting a hospital discharge diagnosis of depression in middle-aged or older Finnish men. J Affect Disord. 2014;159:1-6. PMID: 24679382.

201. Sánchez-Villegas A, Delgado-Rodríguez M, Alonso A, Schlatter J, Lahortiga F, Serra Majem L, et al. Association of the Mediterranean dietary pattern with the incidence of depression: the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra/University of Navarra follow-up (SUN) cohort. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(10):1090-8. PMID: 19805699.

202. Sánchez-Villegas A, Martínez-González MA, Estruch R, Salas-Salvadó J, Corella D, Covas MI, et al. Mediterranean dietary pattern and depression: the PREDIMED randomized trial. BMC Med. 2013;11:208. PMID: 24229349.

203. Skarupski KA, Tangney CC, Li H, Evans DA, Morris MC. Mediterranean diet and depressive symptoms among older adults over time. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(5):441-5. PMID: 23636545.

204. Torres SJ, Nowson CA. A moderate-sodium DASH-type diet improves mood in postmenopausal women. Nutrition. 2012;28(9):896-900. PMID: 22480799.

205. Vilela AA, Farias DR, Eshriqui I, Vaz JoS, Franco-Sena AB, Castro MB, et al. Prepregnancy Healthy Dietary Pattern Is Inversely Associated with Depressive Symptoms among Pregnant Brazilian Women. J Nutr. 2014;144(10):1612-8. PMID: 25143375.


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Last Modified: Oct 29, 2015 at 7:45pm