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Refined Carbs May Increase Risk Of Mental Illness

BOSTON (CBS) -- Refined carbs like sugar, white bread, and pasta will not only expand your waistline, they may also raise your risk of mental illness.

Scientists looked at 70,000 post-menopausal women and found that those who ate the most refined carbohydrates were at higher risk of depression, but experts say it may similar to the chicken and the egg.

"It's hard to tell which comes first," says Alicia Romano, a registered dietitian at Tufts Medical Center, "because some people may already have an unhealthy diet, choose unhealthy foods, and over the long run develop a depressed mood for whatever reason that may be. Their food choices, may be one of them.

"On the flip side, people who may have a depressed mood at baseline may be more apt to choose unhealthy foods, to either cope with their mood or for another strategy."

It's also not clear whether changing your diet can help treat depression and anxiety, but it certainly couldn't hurt to eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

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