Subjective mood and energy levels of healthy weight and overweight/obese healthy adults on high-and low-glycemic load experimental diets

Appetite. 2016 Dec 1:107:253-259. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.08.008. Epub 2016 Aug 6.


Emerging evidence suggests a positive association of diet and obesity with depression. Researchers have examined several diet-mood hypotheses, including investigating the extent to which carbohydrates may impact mood. There is limited research on how glycemic load, a characteristic of carbohydrates, impacts mood in healthy adults. Eighty-two healthy weight and overweight/obese, but otherwise healthy, adults enrolled in a randomized, crossover controlled feeding study testing low-compared to high-glycemic load diets. All participants completed self-report mood and energy level questionnaires during each arm of the intervention. Diets were isocaloric and were matched by macronutrient content as a percent of total energy. Mood was assessed with the Profile of Mood States (POMS) subscales; tension-anxiety, depression-dejection, anger-hostility, vigor-activity, fatigue-inertia, and confusion-bewilderment, total mood disturbance (TMD), and negative affect (NA) in addition to the Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression (CES-D) scale at baseline and end of both 28-day feeding periods. Linear mixed models tested the intervention effect on mood, controlling for baseline POMS and CES-D scores, diet type, diet sequence, feeding period, sex, and percent body fat classification. The consumption of the high-glycemic load diet resulted in a 38% higher score for depressive symptoms on the CES-D (P = 0.002) compared to the low-glycemic load diet as well as 55% higher score for TMD (P = 0.05), and 26% higher score for fatigue/inertia (P = 0.04). In subgroup analyses, the overweight/obese participants had 40% higher scores on the CES-D scale compared to healthy weight participants (P = 0.05). In conclusion, a high-glycemic load diet was associated with higher depression symptoms, total mood disturbance, and fatigue compared to a low-glycemic load diet especially in overweight/obese, but otherwise healthy, adults. This trial was registered at NCT00622661.

Keywords: Controlled trial; Depression; Diet; Glycemic index; Humans; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Depression*
  • Diet*
  • Fatigue*
  • Female
  • Glycemic Load*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Overweight / metabolism
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Associated data