We know that refined sugar and heavily refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, rice and sweetened soda affect insulin production and insulin-like growth factors, changes which promote inflammation and its negative effect on health. Here's another good reason for women, in particular, to avoid refined carbs: researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York have reported that a diet high in these foods may increase the risk for depression in post-menopausal women.

The team compared the dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of carbohydrates consumed and incidence of depression in data gathered from more than 70,000 women participants in the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative Observational Study.

They reported that the higher GI scores and the more sugars and refined grains the women ate, the higher their risk of depression. The study found a lower risk of depression among women who reported eating more whole grains, vegetables and non-juice fruits, all good sources of fiber. The researchers wrote that their findings suggest that a glycemic-based dietary approach might help treat and prevent depression, but more study in the broader population is needed to gauge its effectiveness.