Understanding the relationship between poor diet, depression and obesity – 23/05/2022

Every day we are exposed to a turbulent, intense daily routine, full of schedules, rules and conventions that make us more vulnerable to a stressful life and without the opportunity to enjoy the present moment.

The result of this lifestyle is a major risk factor for the development of mental and non-communicable diseases, such as depression and anxiety. About 4.4% of the world’s population suffers from depression and, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), Brazil and the United States are the countries with the highest rates of antidepressant drug use (about 5.8 % of the population). population).

WHO ranks depression as the leading cause of ill health and disabling disease worldwide. According to their latest estimates, more than 300 million people are currently living in depression. A recent survey conducted by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro points to mental illness as the third leading cause of sick leave nationwide.

Depression and obesity are strongly associated diseases. Evidence based on epidemiological and clinical data suggests that this correlation can occur in more than 50% of cases and one of the association mechanisms is a diet based on processed foods, refined grains and sugar, in addition to the low consumption of diets rich in fruit. vegetables, greens, olive oil, fish, whole grains such as the Mediterranean Diet. These findings suggest that many diet-related behaviors are related to moods.

The sometimes emotional motivation that drives food choices and emotional eating has been widely associated with obesity, with studies showing and demonstrating the relationship between the increased frequency of eating for the sensation of pleasure and the severity of obesity. , as measured by BMI (BMI). Body Mass Index).

The tool to address these dysfunctions was to seek positive mental health. Because associations between affective states and eating behaviors have been found, frequent adherence to diet-related behavioral guidelines may result in a healthier, more regular eating routine and a greater ability to self-regulate food intake.

Scientific evidence describes that the practice of mindfulness promotes change in eating behavior by the development of a variety of mechanisms, including increased awareness of internal experiences (hunger, mood), adaptive emotional coping and cognitive flexibility, in addition to the metabolic improvement characterized from control of the lipid profile, improvement of insulin resistance, among others.

Some studies with well-structured methodology have identified a direct relationship between the degree of obesity and the occurrence of episodes of binge eating marked by impulsive attitudes linked to food choices. The researchers demonstrated that mindfulness practice with the consequent development of a non-judgmental and accepting attitude, coupled with behavioral interventions based on dietary guidance and exercise, had positive effects on weight loss and / or improvement of metabolic parameters in obese subjects.

We can realize the importance of mental health in our health as a whole and, for this, in addition to the practice of mindfulness, some other attitudes will make a difference. I suggest that you gradually introduce these actions and in a short time you will feel the difference:

– Get a good night’s sleep: at least 8 hours of sleep is essential to preserve all bodily functions – we have several studies linking sleep quality to blood pressure and blood sugar control, increased intellectual productivity, improved mental health, positive impact on genetics (epigenetics) and biological rhythm;

– Practice at least an hour a day, do something you like and manage to maintain adherence and commitment. Training releases serotonin and promotes well-being, which helps maintain good body weight and metabolic control;

– Avoid the consumption of foods rich in fats, sugars and alcoholic beverages;

– Keep away from foods rich in caffeine and stimulants, such as coffee, black tea, green tea, chocolate and cola-based drinks; most people are sensitive to these foods;

– Prefer fermented or germinated foods, as they have more nutrients available and contribute to the maintenance of intestinal flora; gut health has a direct connection with mental health;

– Change your way of thinking, cultivate positivity and distribute good vibes.

– Be your priority; take care of your health and mind and enjoy the well-being that these little attitudes will provide.

* With the collaboration of Samantha Rhein, nutritionist and PhD of Unifesp

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES
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Alvarenga, M; Polish, V; Scagliusi, F. Diet and its effects on eating behavior. In: Behavioral Nutrition. San Paolo: Editora Manole; 2015.
A. Ruffault et al. The Effects of Mindfulness Training on Weight Loss and Health-Related Behaviors in Adults with Overweight and Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obesity Research and Clinical Practice (2017) 11, 90–111.
Corsica J, Wilson R, Hood M, Bradley L. Mindfulness in a weight loss intervention: some utilities and some challenges. Obesity (silver spring). 2016 Apr; 24 (4): 792. doi: 10.1002 / oby.21472. Epub 2016 Mar 9. PMID: 26956099.
Daniel C Cherkin, Karen J Sherman, Benjamin H Balderson, Andrea J Cook, Melissa L Anderson, Rene J Hawkes, Kelly E Hansen, Judith A Turner. Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction versus cognitive behavioral therapy or routine care on back pain and functional limitations in adults with chronic low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2016 Mar 22-29; 315 (12): 1240-9.
Sophie Bostock, Alexandra D Crosswell, Aric A Prather, Andrew Steptoe. J Occup Health Psychol, 2019 Feb; 24 (1): 127-138.

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