Depressive Illnesses: Nutrition

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 22 June 2022.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of encouraging people diagnosed with depression to adopt a Mediterranean diet.

Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Mental health outcomes are considered in the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s risk assessments, depending on the evidence base. The Department has no further plans to assess the impact of any dietary measures to prevent or treat depression as there is currently insufficient evidence to attribute mental health outcomes to any individual dietary pattern.

The Government promotes a healthy balanced diet, as depicted in the Eatwell Guide, for maintaining general health and wellbeing and for reducing the risk of diet-related diseases. While there is no single Mediterranean diet, such diets tend to include higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, legumes, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids; lower intakes of saturated fat, dairy products and meat. This dietary pattern broadly aligns with the Eatwell Guide.

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