(HealthDay News) — High-glycemic index diets could increase the risk for depression in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

James E. Gangwisch, PhD, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues assessed the relations between dietary glycemic index, glycemic load and other carbohydrate measures with depression in postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (87,618 women at baseline between 1994 and 1998 and 69,954 women at 3-year follow-up).

A progressively higher dietary glycemic index was associated with increasing odds of incident depression in fully adjusted models (odds ratio [OR] for the fifth vs. first quintile, 1.22), the researchers found. 

There were also increasing odds of incident depression with progressively higher consumption of dietary added sugars (OR for the fifth vs. first quintile, 1.23). 

There were significantly lower odds of incident depression associated with higher consumption of lactose, fiber, nonjuice fruit and vegetables, while nonwhole/refined-grain consumption was associated with increased odds of depression.

“Randomized trials should be undertaken to examine the question of whether diets rich in low-[glycemic index] foods could serve as treatments and primary preventive measures for depression in postmenopausal women,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Gamgwisch JE et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(2):454-463.