Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Association between carbohydrate nutrition and prevalence of depressive symptoms in older adults

  • Bamini Gopinath (a1), Victoria M. Flood (a2) (a3), George Burlutksy (a1), Jimmy C. Y. Louie (a4) and Paul Mitchell (a1)...

We aimed to examine the relationship between dietary glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load of foods consumed, intakes of carbohydrates, sugars and fibre, and the prevalence of depressive symptoms in older adults. Data collected from 2334 participants aged 55+ years and 1952 participants aged 60+ years were analysed. Dietary information was collected using a semi-quantitative FFQ. Depressive symptoms were based on antidepressant use or either the 36-Item Short-Form Survey, which included the Mental Health Index (MHI), or the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression-10 Scale. Participants in the highest v. lowest tertile of dietary GI intake had increased odds of depressive symptoms (assessed by the MHI scale), multivariable-adjusted OR 1·55 (95 % CI 1·12, 2·14). Participants in the highest compared with lowest tertile of fruit consumption had reduced odds of prevalent depressive symptoms, multivariable-adjusted OR 0·66 (95 % CI 0·46, 0·95). Total fibre, vegetable fibre and breads/cereal fibre intakes were all inversely associated with the prevalence of depressive symptoms, with global P values of 0·03, 0·01 and 0·03, respectively. Participants in the second v. first tertile of vegetable consumption had 41 % reduced odds of prevalent depressive symptoms, multivariable-adjusted OR 0·59 (95 % CI 0·40, 0·88). We show that dietary GI and fibre intakes as well as consumption of fruits and vegetables are associated with the prevalence of depressive symptoms.

Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Associate Professor B. Gopinath, fax +61 2 8627 3099, email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2. J Sarris , A O’Neil , CE Coulson , et al. (2014) Lifestyle medicine for depression. BMC Psychiatry 14, 107.

3. B Gopinath , VM Flood , A Kifley , et al. (2016) Association between carbohydrate nutrition and successful aging over 10 years. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 71, 13351340.

4. FM Sacks , VJ Carey , CA Anderson , et al. (2014) Effects of high vs low glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate on cardiovascular disease risk factors and insulin sensitivity: the OmniCarb randomized clinical trial. JAMA 312, 25312541.

5. JB Meigs , DM Nathan , RB D’Agostino Sr, et al. (2002) Fasting and postchallenge glycemia and cardiovascular disease risk: the Framingham Offspring Study. Diabetes Care 25, 18451850.

9. F Haghighatdoost , L Azadbakht , AH Keshteli , et al. (2016) Glycemic index, glycemic load, and common psychological disorders. Am J Clin Nutr 103, 201209.

10. DM Mwamburi , E Liebson , M Folstein , et al. (2011) Depression and glycemic intake in the homebound elderly. J Affect Disord 132, 9498.

11. A Aparicio , F Robles , AM Lopez-Sobaler , et al. (2013) Dietary glycaemic load and odds of depression in a group of institutionalized elderly people without antidepressant treatment. Eur J Nutr 52, 10591066.

12. JE Gangwisch , L Hale , L Garcia , et al. (2015) High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative. Am J Clin Nutr 102, 454463.

13. K Attebo , P Mitchell & W Smith (1996) Visual acuity and the causes of visual loss in Australia. The Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology 103, 357364.

14. WC Willett , L Sampson , ML Browne , et al. (1988) The use of a self-administered questionnaire to assess diet four years in the past. Am J Epidemiol 127, 188199.

15. AW Barclay , VM Flood , JC Brand-Miller , et al. (2008) Validity of carbohydrate, glycaemic index and glycaemic load data obtained using a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Public Health Nutr 11, 573580.

16. W Smith , P Mitchell , EM Reay , et al. (1998) Validity and reproducibility of a self-administered food frequency questionnaire in older people. Aust N Z J Public Health 22, 456463.

19. B Friedman , M Heisel & R Delavan (2005) Validity of the SF-36 five-item Mental Health Index for major depression in functionally impaired, community-dwelling elderly patients. J Am Geriatr Soc 53, 19781985.

21. M Irwin , KH Artin & MN Oxman (1999) Screening for depression in the older adult: criterion validity of the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Arch Intern Med 159, 17011704.

22. MF Folstein , SE Folstein & PR McHugh (1975) ‘Mini-mental state’: a practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res 12, 189198.

23. W Willett & MJ Stampfer (1986) Total energy intake: implications for epidemiologic analyses. Am J Epidemiol 124, 1727.

24. AE Buyken , J Goletzke , G Joslowski , et al. (2014) Association between carbohydrate quality and inflammatory markers: systematic review of observational and interventional studies. Am J Clin Nutr 99, 813833.

25. QQ Han & J Yu (2014) Inflammation: a mechanism of depression? Neurosci Bull 30, 515523.

27. RS McIntyre , HA Kenna , HT Nguyen , et al. (2010) Brain volume abnormalities and neurocognitive deficits in diabetes mellitus: points of pathophysiological commonality with mood disorders? Adv Ther 27, 6380.

28. L Qi & FB Hu (2007) Dietary glycemic load, whole grains, and systemic inflammation in diabetes: the epidemiological evidence. Curr Opin Lipidol 18, 38.

30. AE Buyken , V Flood , M Empson , et al. (2010) Carbohydrate nutrition and inflammatory disease mortality in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr 92, 634643.

31. B Gopinath , JJ Wang , J Schneider , et al. (2009) Depressive symptoms in older adults with hearing impairments: the Blue Mountains Study. J Am Geriatr Soc 57, 13061308.

32. CJ Tsai , MF Leitzmann , WC Willett , et al. (2005) Glycemic load, glycemic index, and carbohydrate intake in relation to risk of cholecystectomy in women. Gastroenterology 129, 105112.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Gopinath supplementary material
Table S1-S2

 Word (52 KB)
52 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 35
Total number of PDF views: 219 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1304 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 9th January 2017 - 20th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.