Dietary Patterns are Differentially Associated with Atypical and Melancholic Subtypes of Depression

Nutrients. 2021 Feb 26;13(3):768. doi: 10.3390/nu13030768.


Diet has been associated with the risk of depression, whereas different subtypes of depression have been linked with different cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs). In this study, our aims were to 1) identify dietary patterns with exploratory factor analysis, 2) assess cross-sectional associations between dietary patterns and depression subtypes, and 3) examine the potentially mediating effect of dietary patterns in the associations between CVRFs and depression subtypes. In the first follow-up of the population-based CoLaus|PsyCoLaus study (2009-2013, 3554 participants, 45.6% men, mean age 57.5 years), a food frequency questionnaire assessed dietary intake and a semi-structured interview allowed to characterize major depressive disorder into current or remitted atypical, melancholic, and unspecified subtypes. Three dietary patterns were identified: Western, Mediterranean, and Sweet-Dairy. Western diet was positively associated with current atypical depression, but negatively associated with current and remitted melancholic depression. Sweet-Dairy was positively associated with current melancholic depression. However, these dietary patterns did not mediate the associations between CVRFs and depression subtypes. Hence, although we could show that people with different subtypes of depression make different choices regarding their diet, it is unlikely that these differential dietary choices account for the well-established associations between depression subtypes and CVRFs.

Keywords: atypical; cardiovascular risk factors; cross-sectional; depression subtypes; dietary patterns; major depressive disorder; melancholic; population-based study.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged