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Association between dietary glycemic index and glycemic load with depression: a systematic review



A combination of genetic and environmental factors is involved in depression etiology. During the last years, the prevalence of depression has increased in both developed and developing countries. Several studies indicated an association between dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) with risk of depression. This systematic review was undertaken to summarize the effect of these diet indicators in depression pathogenesis.


A comprehensive search strategy was performed in the Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Library and Scopus databases from 1966 to March 2017. Finally, six studies (three prospective cohort studies and three cross-sectional) were ultimately selected for inclusion in the systematic review.


75298 adults and elderly entered the reviewed studies. All of the included studies had high methodological quality. The present study indicated that the intake of foods with higher GI is associated with disease risk. However, the relationship was found to be inverse for GL, though the association was rather weak.


Overall, the findings indicated that a diet with lower dietary glycemic index may be effective to reduce the risk or risk of depression.

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Correspondence to Sima Jafarirad.

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Rahimlou, M., Morshedzadeh, N., Karimi, S. et al. Association between dietary glycemic index and glycemic load with depression: a systematic review. Eur J Nutr 57, 2333–2340 (2018).

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  • Depression
  • Glycemic index
  • Glycemic load
  • Carbohydrate
  • Diet