Does Fast Food Expose You To The Greater Risk Of Depression?

April 16, 2012 2:43 PM EDT
blueberry muffins (Photo: Flickr)

It’s a well known fact that non-nutritional junk food contribute to your brain as well as your body. How about depression? New study from The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria found the correlation between fast food and depression. According to the study, consumers of fast food and sweets were 51 percent more likely to develop depression than those who eat less them.

The researchers studied 8,964 people for between two and six years as a part of a long-term, ongoing study. And those who ate extremely high or low daily calories, or had obesity problems were excluded. Although when they had began to study, there had been no one who had had problems related to depression or taken antidepressants, when they finished study, almost 500 participants were found to have problems related to depression or put on antidepressants.

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Participants were asked to report frequency of eating fast food and baked goods like hamburgers, sausages, pizza, muffins, doughnuts, and croissants.

The researcher Sánchez-Villegas said the more fast food people consume, the greater the risk of depression. And also it can be said that the more depressed people are, the more you are prune to consume junk foods.

Before this study published, already there had been several relevant studies. According to one study, those who ate the most trans-fats were 48 percent more likely to have depression than those who didn’t. And the tendency towards unhealthy junk food is mainly reported among single, less physically active, smokers and those who worked more than 45 hours a week.

Dr. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, lead researcher noted. "Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression, although more studies are necessary, the intake of this type of food should be controlled because of its implications on both health (obesity, cardiovascular diseases) and mental well-being."

But the researchers could not decide whether the depression causes people to prefer junk foods or the fatty diet leads to the depression.
Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center in New Haven, commented, “Higher intake of fast food may very well increase risks of depression by causing poor health in general, but depression may also increase fast food intake.”

Ha added that fast food can be consumed for relief, and people with depression are prune to rely on fast food. And he pointed out the other factors linked to both fast food intake and mental problems.

The other authority, Keith Ayoob, associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York said, “It does not mean that if you go eat a hamburger you are going to become depressed. I think this represents a reflection of depression.”


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