Diet–Behavior Relationships: Focus on Depression
In the midst of confusion and misinformation in both public and professional circles, there is a small but growing body of scientific literature on the effect of diet and various specific nutrients on behavior. Psychologist Larry Christensen has written Diet–Behavior Relationships to summarize the research in a form that will be useful both to researchers in this relatively new field (listing issues and methodological concerns that must be addressed in future research) and to practitioners who wish to understand how the current state of scientific knowledge can be applied in the therapeutic context.
In this book, Christensen examines the historical context; strategic and methodological approaches; neurobiological and psychological mechanisms underlying the behavioral effects of food, focusing on depression; and recent findings on a number of specific nutrients and dietary components (including L-tryptophan, caffeine, and sucrose) as they relate to physical and psychological conditions such as premenstrual syndrome, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, seasonal affective disorder, autism, and Down's syndrome. He concludes with recommendations and caveats for applying current knowledge about nutrition as an adjunct to more conventional therapy.