15 Foods That Can Increase Your Risk of Depression

Depression affects millions worldwide, marked by long-term sadness and lost interest. Certain foods may increase depression risk, so watch your diet carefully.


Excessive sugar intake can lead to mood swings, fatigue, inflammation, and higher rates of depression. Over time, it can also cause lethargy and lack of interest in activities.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners, often in low-calorie products, could increase depression risk by causing imbalances in serotonin levels, a key mood regulator.


Margarine, specifically high in trans fats, can hinder the body's utilization of essential fats. These fats vital for brain health aid in brain cell communication and mood regulation.


Alcohol's “feel-good” effects are temporary and can lead to depression by reducing serotonin, the body’s mood stabilizer, causing mood swings and anxiety.


Non-whole grain rye bread may cause mood swings and inflammation, increasing depression risk. Consider these effects before including it in your diet.

White Bread

White bread, a common staple, is made from refined flour lacking essential nutrients like B vitamins, impacting mood and serotonin production. It can cause mood swings.


Excessive salt consumption can disturb natural body chemicals, causing depression. High sodium affects mood regulation and raises the risk of heart disease. Learn more.

Fried Foods

Fried foods, known for high trans fats, can increase inflammation and risk of depression due to their high fat content. Read more


Coffee in large amounts can cause depression due to its high caffeine content which can disrupt sleep and cause anxiety.


Processed cheese with high saturated fats and sodium can lead to depression by causing inflammation and disrupting mood regulation.


Processed wheat can increase depression risk due to its high glycemic index causing blood sugar spikes, mood swings, and fatigue.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks' high caffeine/sugar content can affect neurotransmitter systems, causing mood swings that can worsen depression symptoms. Read more.

Vegetable Oil

High omega-6, low omega-3 levels in vegetable oils can disrupt brain cells, affecting mood regulation and potentially leading to depression.

Whole Milk

Whole milk, rich in saturated fats, can cause body inflammation if excessively consumed. This can lead to the production of cytokines, disrupting brain function and triggering depression.

GMO Foods

GMO foods have DNA alterations affecting their nutritional content & biochemistry, potentially impacting the gut-brain axis, a communication system between gut microbes & brain.

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