High-sugar diet ‘could cause onset of mental illness’
A diet that is high in sugar and the amino acid tryptophan could bring out mental illness in those who are predisposed, a study has suggested.
Joseph Garner, an associate professor of animal sciences at Purdue University, studied mice with trichotillomania, an impulse-control disorder which makes them pull out their hair.
Mr Garner found that a diet high in sugar and tryptophan can cause this abnormal hair-pulling to worsen and can also cause the subject to start self-injurious scratching behaviour.
He claims that, before now, a link between diet and the onset of mental disorders had not been shown.
Diet could even be affecting other behavioural or mental illnesses such as autism, Tourette syndrome, trichotillomania and skin-picking, he added.
"What if the increase of simple sugars in the American diet is contributing to the increase of these diseases?" Mr Garner said.
Last month, researchers from the Medical University Innsbruck in Austria suggested that a diet that is high in fat and cholesterol can lead to brain problems with symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease.
Does this research make you more inclined to reduce the amount of sugar that is in your diet?