Ultra-Processed Foods Are behind Depressive Symptoms, Brazilian Study Shows

São Paulo University researchers reveal that highly processed foods increase the risk of depressed mood by 42%

Barra Mansa (RJ)

Researchers from the University of São Paulo who have been monitoring the eating patterns of the Brazilian population since 2020 show that high consumption of ultra-processed foods is related to the manifestation of depressive symptoms.

The analysis reveals a 42% increased risk for depressive conditions within the group where these products make up almost two-fifths of the diet.

The specialists evaluated data from nearly 16,000 adults who did not have a diagnosis of depression at the beginning of the study.

Volunteers reported, via online questionnaires administered semi-annually, the main foods consumed the day before and their health status. With this information, researchers were able to gauge the role of ultra-processed foods in their diet.

On average, highly processed foods represent 20% of the total energy consumed daily by Brazilians. Within the group with the healthiest diet, this percentage is 7%, reaching almost 40% in the group that most relies on these products.

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