Dietary Patterns, Sugars and Mental Health
The role of nutrition in maintaining good mental health is becoming more recognized and is gaining increased research attention. Continued research in this area is important in understanding how dietary patterns and specific foods or nutrients may play a role in the prevention and reduction of certain mental health disorders.
The dietitians and nutrition scientists at the Canadian Sugar Institute perform regular reviews of the literature related to sugars and relevant health topics to develop website content based on the highest level of evidence. This content is also reviewed by external academic or professional experts.
A recent review on Sugars and Mental Health, provides a brief summary of research findings with a focus on dietary patterns including sugars and their relationship with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Key learnings on overall dietary patterns include:
- A diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and healthy fats, may support good mental health due to higher intakes of nutrients such as B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
- A diet higher in processed foods, processed meats, and sugars-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may be associated with increased risk for mental health disorders.
Key learnings on sugars include:
- To date, there is limited research on the relationship between sugars and the risk of developing mental health disorders; most studies are observational and focus primarily on SSBs.
- To fill this gap, more high-quality studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the potential impacts of consuming sugars or sweetened beverages on maintaining good mental health and preventing mental health disorders.
The website content on this topic has been reviewed by an external registered dietitian and leading expert in the field of brain health. For more information, please visit: