Nutr Health 2003 ;17(3):211-9
There is well accepted evidence that the long-term outcome of schizophrenia is better in developing than in developed countries. Socio-cultural factors, which are as yet unidentified, have been postulated to explain this. There is also disputed evidence that schizophrenia was rare in indigenous populations and increased when they came into contact with Western or industrialised cultures, and that there was an increase in the rate of schizophrenia during the Industrial Revolution. These epidemiological and historical findings point to diet as a possible mediating factor in schizophrenia. Ecological studies have indicated that a worse outcome of schizophrenia is associated with higher consumption of saturated fat and sugar. It is also known that schizophrenic patients have increased insulin resistance and are at increased risk of developing diabetes and coronary heart disease. These findings suggest a new paradigm for our understanding of the causation and treatment of schizophrenia.