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I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat

Posted Jul 13 2012 9:51pm

Remember the character Fat Bastard from Austin Powers?  He has a powerful quote that many of us can relate to when it comes to our depression and relationship with food; “I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.”    A vicious cycle indeed.  So the question becomes does depression make us overeat or does overeating cause our depression?    Well, Researchers are trying to answer that question.

In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, 2012, researchers, Stephanie Fulton and Sandeep Sharma, explore the relationship between depression and a high fat, high sugar diet in mice.   Mice were given a high fat, high sugar diet for 12 weeks.  Their observations of the mice on the high fat, high sugar diet exhibited signs of anxiety and depressive symptoms compared to mice that were not on the high fat, high sugar diet.  This article from Scientific American poses many questions about what still needs to be done beyond this study to really figure out the link between an high fat, high sugar diet and depression.

Researcher Stephanie Fulton states, “Although popular culture jokes about these illnesses and even mocks the people who are suffering, obesity is a serious and major public health issue that already affects hundreds of millions of people. As a society, we must avoid creating stigma and discriminating against obese and depressed people. With regards to research, it is urgent that we identify the molecules and neural pathways involved in obesity and obesity-related illnesses. My colleagues and I are committed to identifying the brain circuitry involved in these diseases and to improving the tools available to researchers working in the same field.”

Reading things like this gives me hope that people care and they truely want to make discoveries to help a growing population of people who are suffering.  From my personal experience I am sure there is a link between diet and depression.   I can’t tell you how many times the words of Fat Bastard ran through my head.

What do you think?  Based on your personal experience, do you think there is a link between your diet and depression?  Do you think one causes the other?



Study published in the International Journal of Obesity, 2012

Overview of Study from the U.S. National Library, National Institutes of Health: Diet-induced obesity promotes depressive-like behaviour that is associated with neural adaptations in brain reward circuitry



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