Poor diets may be a factor leading to metabolic abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia.
UK researchers from King’s College London conducted a literature search, identifying 738 research studies that focused on unhealthy lifestyles, cardiovascular risks and metabolic abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia. Valeria Mondelli and her colleagues reviewed 31 of these studies, which focused on dietary patterns and the metabolic effects on patients with schizophrenia.
Poor diets were defined as being low in fruit and fiber and high in calories and saturated fats.
"Such [a] diet is likely to increase the risk of developing metabolic abnormalities, and may worsen metabolic abnormalities induced by other factors," commented Mondelli et al. "The diet and factors underlying poor dietary patterns may represent an important therapeutic target to control metabolic abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia."
All 31 studies analyzed by researchers used different ways to assess dietary habits, such as questionnaires, food diaries and computerized food tables.
The majority of the studies (26) showed that people with schizophrenia typically have poorer eating habits than the general population.
Researchers commented that poor dietary patterns, as well as a high consumption of saturated fat and low intake of fruits and fiber are linked to the development or worsening of metabolic syndrome in people who do not have a psychiatric illness.
From the studies reviewed, researchers were not able to make a clear link between poor eating habits and metabolic variables.
"We can only suggest that a poor diet represents one of the factors involved in the development of metabolic abnormalities," commented researchers in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
"With this view, it is important to clarify which factors may influence diet and consequently have a role in the development of metabolic syndrome."
Researchers said some possible factors could include but are not limited to smoking, low physical activity, antipsychotic treatment, or stress.
Source: News Medical