The Food and Mood Debate

Can food affect your mood? Can a diet of fast food make you grumpy? Can sweets make you frantic? The food/mood link has been hotly debated for years, and there is still no consensus. But there are strong opinions. Here are two answers to the question, "Can food affect your mood?"

YES: Dr. Harvey M. Ross, Los Angeles psychiatrist and co-author, with June Roth, of "The Mood Control Diet"

"Very decidedly. I know this from 20 years of experience working with patients. People with poor nutrition don't have the energy to move around the way they want. They don't think clearly simply because they are working on a sub-nutrient level. Not everyone's mood is affected by food. But for those with chronic complaints of fatigue and depression, I suggest they ask themselves how they are eating. Do they crave sugar? Do they have a lot of allergies? Nutritional improvement may help."

NO: Dr. Victor Herbert, New York internist; professor of medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; senior editor of the forthcoming "Mt. Sinai School of Medicine Complete Book of Nutrition."

"Horsefeathers. As a general rule, no (food doesn't affect mood). Mood is a facet of emotional status. It relates to those factors which affect our emotions, such as interactions with others, the loss of a loved one or moving away. Mood is determined by circumstances, not by diet."

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