There’s A Mental Health Reason To Avoid Added Sugar

When we think about the link between food and feelings, it usually goes something like this: We feel sad, and then we eat something — usually a comforting gut bomb of sugar, salt and fat — to feel better. But what if this relationship were actually reversed? What if the things we ate were actually causing us to become more depressed over time, creating a destructive loop of sadness, bingeing, and sadness again?

That’s the premise of a recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that suggests sugary and starchy foods could contributing to depression. Previous long-term studies have shown that people who eat pastries, sugary drinks and other refined carbohydrates have a higher risk of depression, but didn’t determine what is it, exactly, about those foods that ties them to depression risk.

The Setup

Columbia University psychiatry professor James Gangwisch wanted to find out, and to parse out the different effects that varying amounts of carbohydrates and added sugar have on mood. To do so, he looked back at data from nearly 70,000 postmenopausal women who participated in a research project in 1994 and then again in 1998.

Gangswisch and his team looked at both the quality and quantity of the carbs in the women’s diets, applying glycemic index scores — a scale from zero to 100 that measures how a food raises a person’s blood sugar level — to what each woman was eating. (A food like steel-cut oatmeal, with a GI score of 55 or less, raises blood sugar levels less than instant oatmeal, which has a GI score of 70 or more.) They also calculated each woman’s glycemic load, or the amount of carbs she was eating, to understand whether or not that had any link to her level of depression. —> Read More

Scientist Debunks Jim Carrey’s Anti-Vaccination Tweets

In a series of recent tweets, actor Jim Carrey raged against a new California law banning the personal belief exemption for childhood vaccines. The bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday, makes the shots mandatory for every child before attending public or private school. The only children who will be exempt from vaccines are those who have a medical reason to postpone them, such as an immune deficiency or cancer.

Carrey maintains that his objection is to the additives in vaccines, like thimerosal and mercury, not the vaccines themselves. “I am not anti-vaccine,” he tweeted.

I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015

But it’s simply not possible to hold both beliefs, said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Carrey’s insistence on making an issue out of a non-issue like the supposed dangers of the preservative thimerosal actually is an anti-vaccine position, Offit explained. By Offit’s count, there are several high-quality studies that show thimerosal in vaccines does not cause autism or developmental delays in the children who receive them.

“What makes Jim Carrey anti-vaccine is that he takes a non-issue and he makes it an issue,” said Offit. “He puts out misinformation about vaccines, and therefore he’s anti-vaccine.”

Some vaccines, including certain flu vaccines, still contain trace amounts of thimerosal. Carrey likened this chemical to the methylmercury found in fish, which is a neurotoxin and can cause serious damage to people if ingested in large amounts.

They say mercury in fish is dangerous but forcing all of our children to be injected —> Read More

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