Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

Lane, Melissa M., Gamage, Elizabeth, Travica, Nikolaj, Dissanayaka, Thusharika, Ashtree, Deborah N., Gauci, Sarah, Lotfaliany, Mojtaba, O’neil, Adrienne, Jacka, Felice N., and Marx, Wolfgang (2022) Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Nutrients, 14 (13). 2568.

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Abstract

Since previous meta-analyses, which were limited only to depression and by a small number of studies available for inclusion at the time of publication, several additional studies have been published assessing the link between ultra-processed food consumption and depression as well as other mental disorders. We aimed to build on previously conducted reviews to synthesise and meta-analyse the contemporary evidence base and clarify the associations between the consumption of ultra-processed food and mental disorders. A total of 17 observational studies were included (n = 385,541); 15 cross-sectional and 2 prospective. Greater ultra-processed food consumption was cross-sectionally associated with increased odds of depressive and anxiety symptoms, both when these outcomes were assessed together (common mental disorder symptoms odds ratio: 1.53, 95%CI 1.43 to 1.63) as well as separately (depressive symptoms odds ratio: 1.44, 95%CI 1.14 to 1.82; and, anxiety symptoms odds ratio: 1.48, 95%CI 1.37 to 1.59). Furthermore, a meta-analysis of prospective studies demonstrated that greater ultra-processed food intake was associated with increased risk of subsequent depression (hazard ratio: 1.22, 95%CI 1.16 to 1.28). While we found evidence for associations between ultra-processed food consumption and adverse mental health, further rigorously designed prospective and experimental studies are needed to better understand causal pathways.

Item ID: 76500
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2072-6643
Keywords: anxiety, major depressive disorder, mental disorders, meta‐analysis, NOVA, nutritional psychiatry, psychiatry, ultra‐processed food
Copyright Information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2023 01:54
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320221 Psychiatry (incl. psychotherapy) @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3210 Nutrition and dietetics > 321002 Food properties (incl. characteristics and health benefits) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200410 Nutrition @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200105 Treatment of human diseases and conditions @ 50%
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