Diet quality and depression risk: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies

diet analysis project

Diet analysis project

Adherence to a healthy diet is associated with a somewhat lower depression risk.

This association is evident at the level of depressive symptoms, not at the diagnostic level.

This association is not evident when baseline depressive symptoms are controlled for.

Adherence to an unhealthy diet or food groups is not associated with depression incidence.

Background

It has been claimed that the quality of a diet is associated with the incidence of depressive disorders. We sought to investigate the evidence for this claim.

Systematic searches were performed up to March 6th, 2017 in order to identify prospective cohort studies that reported on exposure to dietary patterns or food groups and the incidence of depression/depressive symptoms. Data from 24 independent cohorts (totalling 1,959,217 person-years) were pooled in random-effects meta-analyses.

Adherence to a high-quality diet, regardless of type (i.e., healthy/prudent or Mediterranean), was associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms over time (odds ratios ranged 0.64–0.78 in a linear dose-response fashion [P

Limitations

Our ability to detect confounders was only limited.

Conclusion

There is evidence that a higher quality of a diet is associated with a lower risk for the onset of depressive symptoms, but not all available results are consistent with the hypothesis that diet influences depression risk. Prospective studies that control for relevant confounders such as obesity incidence and randomized controlled prevention trials are needed to increase the validity of findings in this field.

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Marc Molendijk Institute of Psychology, Clinical Psychology Unit, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden, The Netherlands. University of Navarra, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain

Patricio Molero University of Navarra; Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, University Hospital, School of Medicine, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain

Felipe Ortuño Sánchez-Pedreño University of Navarra; Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, University Hospital, School of Medicine, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain

Willem Van der Does Institute of Psychology, Clinical Psychology Unit, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

Miguel Angel Martínez-González University of Navarra, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain. CIBER-OBN, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain. Department of Nutrition, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, US

Review registration PROSPERO (http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/) under ID CRD42016041800.

Willem van der Does and Miguel Angel Martínez-González contributed equally to this study

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