1985 Article – Food and Psychiatry

Interesting article all the way back from 1985 on correlation between specific foods and psychiatric symptoms. For some reason though diet is still not really discussed with patients by psychiatrists. I assume general diet concerns do get mentioned – such as is the patient eating too much sugar, not enough protein, is malnourished, etc., but in my experience no psychiatrist had discussed with me specific ingredients that could potentially increase anxiety.

I would say that diet was not discussed much with me except some questions such as whether I ate full meals. I did eat full meals, I never had trouble eating, but no one asked whether I experienced any abdominal pain after meals and what my meals contained. I was asked whether I drank alcohol, I did not, but no one asked how many Starbucks drinks I had, and how much sugar each drink contained. I never thought that I was overconsuming sugar, I was not checking how many grams of sugar per day I was eating, which was probably over 100 grams. I have also never heard at that point, during my initial psychiatric visits, that there could be any possible link between a food component and mood. No psychiatrist so far has ever mentioned this to me, nor agreed with me that it was possible. I, on the other hand, am quite certain that cow dairy protein causes intrusive thoughts and anxiety for me and that a high lactose consumption decreases my energy and increases depressive symptoms.

Even though for some reason psychiatrists right away focus on prescribing medication, without any discussion of changes in diet potentially improving symptoms, there has been numerous papers pointing to a link between specific foods and psychiatric issues, also links between diet causing changes in gut bacteria, and in turn affecting mood and anxiety. It was interesting to find this short article from 1985 describing research on certain foods and possible link to mood disorders. The study was performed by the University of Chicago.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1985-09-08-8502280775-story.html

“Some of the first solid evidence indicating that certain foods can cause mood disorders in some people has been found in a University of Chicago study that implicates a faulty immune system as the culprit.

”A lot of people said it was impossible to know if food related mood changes were real or if they were all in a person`s mind,” said Dr. John Crayton, associate professor of psychiatry. ”We have found that it may not be all in their minds.”

The findings tend to support the contention of other doctors, such as Dr. Theron Randolph, that depression, anxiety, irritability, inability to concentrate and other mood disorders may be caused by such foods as sugar, milk, wheat, corn, and chocolate, he said.

While other studies have suggested mood changes from food, the U. of C. study is the first to show major changes in the function of the immune system that occur with behavioral changes after certain foods are consumed, said Crayton.

Wheat and milk produced the most marked reactions, while chocolate was less reactive, he added. The immune reactions should not be confused with traditional food allergies that produce rashes or hives, he explained.