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Psychobiological effects of carbohydrate- and protein-rich meals in patients with seasonal affective disorder and normal controls

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      Abstract

      Patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) frequently report carbohydrate craving and note that carbohydrate ingestion energizes them. Bright artificial light has been shown to reverse the symptoms of SAD, including carbohydrate craving. In this study, 16 depressed SAD patients and 16 matched controls were fed two different isocaloric meals, one rich in protein and one rich in carbohydrates, in a crossover design. Although their biochemical response in terms of plasma large neutral amino acid concentrations was identical, SAD patients reported activation following carbohydrate ingestion, whereas normal controls reported sedation. Marked ordering effects on psychological parameters were noted, suggesting that order should be taken into account as a methodological consideration in meal studies.
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