Obesity and depression are diseases that are quite frequent in the Netherlands. Depression affects one in five people in our country while one third of Dutch population is overweight or even obese. We already know that nutrition affects our mood. This is due to the fact that certain foods can influence the neurotransmitters in the brain that are involved in our feelings. It is also known that depression and being overweight often go hand in hand. But how these two exactly correlate is still unclear. That’s why dietitian Deborah Gibson-Smith and psychologist Nadine Paans did research into the role of diet, food-related behaviour and obesity in depression.

Eating pattern

Dietitian Gibson-Smith focuses in her research on the relationship between obesity and nutrition with depressed people. She studied nearly 3000 participants and her research showed that people suffering from depression have unhealthier eating patterns than people without depression. According to Gibson-Smith, a low intake of vegetables and whole grains correlate with severe depression. When you think about it, it shouldn’t be such a big surprise because our brain depends on the vitamins and minerals from the food we eat for its functioning. Long periods of unhealthy eating ensures that the small chemical factory that our brain ultimately is, no longer has the right raw materials to work optimally.


Psychologist Paans focuses on the relationship between different eating styles and depression. Her research has shown that depressed people are more likely to suffer from emotional and external eating. Emotional eating happens as a result of negative emotions while external eating is about eating due to signals from the environment, for example smelling something something tasty. In addition Paans also found that depression is associated with eating savory snacks more often. This can be linked to the increased external eating in depressed people, which means that they are more likely to grab savory snacks than non-depressed people.

So remember to pay extra attention to what you eat, if you do not feel that well mentally. Pay attention to your eating habits and you will notice that you can feel a lot better with good nutrition!

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Content wizard who likes good food, is interested in alternative medicine and nutrition. Also likes to paint and read.

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