Science says this diet heals anxiety (and it looks familiar)

A few weeks back I wrote about how quitting sugar helps fight anxiety. Now, a new study shows that another well-known diet can fight depression.

The study was conducted by Deakin University here in Australia. It showed that after 12 weeks of what is essentially Mediterranean-style eating (see the details below), one third of folk reported a significant improvement in mood and symptoms.

I’m not surprised. The immune system and gut microbiota “feed” depression and anxiety. Our immune and gut health are determined directly by what we eat. The study worked with people suffering depression, but I’d imagine the same results would be found in those with anxiety (and other similar studies have shown as such).

The thing is, this diet is the I Quit Sugar diet…

And the effects of both “diets” on all kinds of markers are much the same. The difference is the IQS diet is front-ended by an 8-Week Program required to get most of us off our sugar addiction so that we can eat in a sustainable, low-sugar, Mediterranean kinda way. Most of us can’t just start eating “healthily”, because we’re addicted to sugar.

To be sure, let me flesh out the prescriptions. You’ll see what I mean…

The Mood diet v Quitting Sugar

Below is the diet the 31 study participants were fed, alongside the I Quit Sugar prescripts I built into the 8-Week Program more than six years ago.

Fruit and Veg

  • MD: 6 servings of vegetables per day.
  • MD: 3 servings of fruit per day.
  • IQS: 7-9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day.


  • MD: 5 serves of wholegrains/pulses a day.
  • IQS: 3 serves of wholegrains/pulses a day (more for the vegetarian option).

Fat and Protein

  • MD: 2 servings of unsweetened dairy per day.
  • IQS: 1-2 servings of unsweetened dairy per day.
  • MD: 3 tablespoons of olive oil per day.
  • IQS: 3 tablespoons (1 tablespoon of good fat with each meal -butter, coconut oil or olive oil)  per day.
  • MD: 3 servings of lean red meat, two servings of chicken, up to six eggs, and at least two servings of fish per week.
  • IQS: 2 serves of red meat, 2 serves of chicken, up to six eggs, and two serves of fish a week.


MD: No more than two glasses of red wine a day, only with dinner.

IQS: 1-2 glasses of red wine per day, only with dinner.


MD: No added sugar, not including whole fruit.

IQS: For the first 5 weeks, no fructose. After that, 6-9 teaspoons a day of added sugar, not including whole fruit.

Watch this short ABC News video to hear commentary about the study from Professor Jacka herself, and to meet Sarah Keeble, one of the real people who went through the clinical trial and saw improvements in her own depression.

It all makes sense to me. Personally, eating this way is non-negotiable. I veer, I pay. What about you?



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