from the world's big
Large study confirms diet linked to anxiety disorders
Once again, sugar-rich processed foods are shown to increase the likelihood of anxiety.
- Ten percent of the global population currently suffers from an anxiety disorder.
- A Canadian-based team discovered a link between anxiety and high-sugar, processed foods.
- Subjects whose diets were high in fruits and vegetables were less likely to suffer from such a disorder.
If there were ever a week in which anxiety disorders were peaking, this would be it. As if we needed the extra stress. Roughly 10 percent of the global population deals with an anxiety disorder; in America, 19.1 percent of adults suffer from anxiety every year, costing the US economy an estimated $50 billion. Anxiety negatively impacts relationships and well-being while often increasing suicidal thoughts and attempts. We live in tense times.
There are many causes of anxiety. It is rare for someone to be okay in every facet of their life before one event throws them into disorder territory. Therefore, we must investigate the many varied causes of stress in order to come to terms with the environment sufferers live within. We know that one main driver of anxiety is diet, as a new study from a team of Canadian researchers confirms.
Publishing their findings in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, lead author, Karen Davidson at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, says that "for those who consumed less than three sources of fruits and vegetables daily, there was at least at 24% higher odds of anxiety disorder diagnosis."
As stated, anxiety is multivariate. It also affects different populations. Anxiety disorders are more common in women and occur more often in younger populations than older groups. Married people fare better, but the obese do not. Those who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer, while smokers and those who eat the typically sugar-rich "Western diet" are more likely to have such a disorder.
For this study, the researchers used data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), which totaled 26,991 volunteers. Nearly half were men, over 80 percent were born in Canada, and nearly 60 percent were aged 45-65 years. A total of 8.5 percent of study participants self-report suffering from anxiety.
By utilizing physical exams, lab tests, and interviews, the researchers constructed a model to better understand factors that lead to anxiety. Interestingly, given the multicultural demographic of Canada, the researchers also focused on another population: immigrants. Canadian-born citizens were twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorder than immigrants to that country, including from Africa, Asia, Mexico, and Europe. As the team writes,
"This 'healthy migrant advantage' may be attributable to 'selection effects', whereby those with physical health conditions or mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, may be less likely to immigrate. Conversely, those who choose to immigrate may engage in health behaviors that are protective against poor mental health."
A vegetable stalls at the Oranjezicht City Farm, a farmers-style market for local farmers and artisanal food producers in Cape Town, held every Saturday and Sunday at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.
Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images
For this study, the team focused on four major questions: Does immigrant status affect the prevalence of anxiety disorder? Does the association between immigrants and natural born citizens take into consideration socio-demographic, health, and nutritional correlates? What specific dietary intakes are associated with anxiety? What other factors matter when controlling for immigrant status?
Overall, they found that immigrants are less likely to suffer from anxiety than Canadian-born citizens: one in 15 compared to one in 10. Still, the team believes equal measures should be taken to protect the entire society against the prevalence of anxiety. They also suggest further research be done to measure the fiber, calcium, and vitamin D intake of all Canadians.
One thing remains clear: high-sugar, highly processed diets lead to more anxiety. Whether correlation or causation, those that exhibit a higher intake of fruits and vegetables fare better. It's not the only factor, but it's an important one that we don't seem to pay enough attention to.
- Your Diet Might Be Causing Anxiety and Depression - Big Think ›
- New Study Finds Sugar Increases Risk of Depression in Men - Big ... ›
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.