This study is a component of Sapien Labs’ continuing Global Mind Project, a study of mental health around the world. The study, published yesterday by Sapien Lab, examines the self-reported frequency of Ultra Processed food consumption and its relationship to the complete spectrum of mental health symptoms and overall mental well-being.
According to all the responses globally, those who regularly ate ultra-processed foods (UPFs) were almost three times more likely to experience distress or mental health issues than those who did so infrequently or never. Ultra Processed Foods or UPFs are broadly characterised as industrially produced foods and typically comprise aerated beverages, packaged chips and snacks, a variety of confectionery goods, and pre-packaged heat-and-eat meals.
About The Study:
Previous research has connected UPFs to illnesses like obesity, diabetes, and cardiac problems, and some more recent studies have also discovered connections with depression. This study, which was conducted in 26 nations, takes things a step further by demonstrating connections between these foods and a variety of mental health metrics.
The study involved about 3,00,000 people worldwide including 30,000 people from India indicated that frequent use of ultra-processed meals may be highly connected to dramatic declines in mental wellness across genders, age groups, and nations.
The study was conducted in India among internet-enabled English- and Hindi-speaking people, and the results largely paralleled international trends. This would be especially concerning given that India is one of the marketplaces for ultra-processed foods that is expanding most rapidly. According to the WHO, the retail sales value of this industry increased at a compound annual growth rate of 13.37% from 2011 to 2021. The growth of UPFS is anticipated to outpace that of India’s GDP and the increase in consumption of basic foodstuffs over the coming ten years.
The study obtained data through an evaluation that questioned 47 domains of mental function on a life impact scale to provide an aggregate mental well-being score, known as the Mental Health Quotient or MHQ, as well as scores for individual dimensions of mental function.
The study takes a continuum-wide look at the full picture of symptoms. Researchers demonstrate that there is a continuum of degradation across all domains of mental function beyond depression, especially when it comes to the capacity to handle one’s feelings and thoughts, even though it also suggests that depressive symptoms worsen with increased frequency of UPF intake.