Nutrition Health Review

FALL 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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5 Fall 2017 • Volume 117 and found that men who consumed more than 67 grams of added sugar daily were 23-percent more likely to develop anxiety, depression, or another mental disorder aŌer five years. 4 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that added sugar (that is not naturally occurring such as in fruit) should make up no more than 10 percent of total daily calories for adults and children. That means if someone eats a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, they should consume no more than 50 grams of added sugar, if any. The recent study in ScienƟfic Reports is notably different from studies that have come before it, claim the authors, because no other study has examined the role of "reverse causaƟon." In other words, if people with anxiety and/or depression tended to consume more sugary foods and drinks, this could be the real reason why a link between sugar intake and poorer mental health has been observed. However, in this study, the researchers this link was not observed. The researchers found that men and women were not more likely to consume more sugar due to their depression but rather those that consumed more sugar were more likely to develop depression. 4 Exercise. Have you ever completed a parƟcularly intense workout and felt calm, happy, and energized aŌerward? This "runner's high" can bring great relief to those suffering from MDD. A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that even small amounts of exercise, as liƩle as one hour per week and at any intensity, can be effecƟve in prevenƟng depression. 5 Not only can regular physical acƟvity prevent depression, but mulƟple studies have proven it to be a viable treatment for the disorder. In one study, 30 parƟcipaƟng paƟents with moderate depression were randomly assigned three courses of treatment: an exercise regimen of walking for 20 to 40 minutes, three Ɵmes weekly; a social support group; or no treatment, acƟng as the control group. AŌer six weeks, paƟents who parƟcipated in the exercise program saw the most effecƟve results in alleviaƟng symptoms of their depression. 6 Even beƩer, another study showed that these effects can be long lasƟng; in this study, paƟents parƟcipated in a 12-week fitness program, saw significant improvements in their depressive symptoms, and then maintained many of these improvements during a 12-month follow up period. 7 In addiƟon to cardiovascular Social Media and Depression: Is There a ConnecƟon? A re the luxuries of modern life negaƟvely impacƟng our mental health? Science suggests so. The American Psychological AssociaƟon released their annual "Stress in America" report back in February 2017, and the associaƟon dedicates an enƟre secƟon to "Technology and Social Media." 1 In this secƟon, the concept of the "constant checker" is discussed: 45 percent of Americans report being constantly connected to phones or computers on a typical workday, and this number only drops to 34 percent on weekends. Forty-two percent of these constant checkers report worrying about the effect that social media has on their physical and mental health. Several studies suggest that these constant checkers are right to worry—one study concluded that the use of mulƟple social media plaƞorms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults. The relaƟonship needs to be further clarified, experts say, who are unsure whether use of social media plaƞorms causes depression or if those with a propensity for depression are simply more likely to use more social media outlets. 2 A separate study, however, established a more causal role for social media use, reporƟng that individuals who spent more Ɵme on Facebook exhibited more depressive symptoms. 3 Why does this happen, exactly? Authors of this study offer at least one explanaƟon, which they call the "highlight reel" effect. Facebook and other social media sites are recognized by many as a place to display your best achievement and most exciƟng life events; users are more likely to post about geƫng married, having a baby, or career advancements than mundane events that happen regularly all day long, like eaƟng breakfast on a Tuesday before work. The researchers explain that this "highlight reel" effect of Facebook causes some users to constantly compare themselves to their peers. From these constant comparisons, feelings of inadequacy and lowered self-esteem occur, causing those vulnerable to depression to suffer. 1. American Psychological AssociaƟon. Stress in America: Coping with Change. Feburary 2017. hƩps://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/technology-social-media.PDF. Accessed Dec 12 2017. 2. Primack BA. Use of mulƟple social media plaƞorms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A naƟonally-representaƟve study among U.S. young adults. Computers in Human Behavior. 2017; 69:1–9. 3. Mai LN, et al. Seeing Everyone Else's Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 2014; 33(8):701–731.

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