Trans-fats, saturated fats linked to depression

A study out of Spain has linked consumption of foods high in trans-fats and saturated fats with an increased risk of depression.

The six year study at the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria tracked 12,000 people. None of the participants had been diagnosed with depression prior to the study, but at the end, 657 were sufferers.

“Participants with an elevated consumption of trans-fats (fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced pastries and fast food…) presented up to a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats,” the head study author said.

The study also looked at diets with a high percentage of “heart healthy” fats, such as olive oil or fish oils. These fats tended to be linked with a lower rate of depression in participants. The study notes that the link to depression was notable despite a relatively low presence of the “bad” fats in participants’ diets:

The report, published in the online journal PLoS ONE, noted the research was performed on a European population that enjoys a relatively low intake of trans-fats — making up only 0.4 percent “of the total energy ingested by the volunteers.”

“Despite this, we observed an increase in the risk of suffering depression of nearly 50 percent,” said researcher Miguel Martinez.

In the US, energy derived from trans fats clocks in at about 2.5%.