Depression and Fast Food Consumption Linked in New Study

Eating habits can significantly influence your mental health

A group of researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada say that eating fast food can make people depressed. Their investigation finally links the two together, even though researchers have suspected this was the case for quite some time now.

While eating junk food will not necessarily imply that a person will become depressed, the behavior significantly increases one's risks of developing this mental disorder. The new data joins a mountain of evidence suggesting that this connection is real.

Details of the new investigation appear in the latest issue of the journal Public Health Nutrition. The new study also covers people who consume commercial baked goods, such as croissants, donuts, fairy cakes and so on. In this study, fast food refers to hot dogs, pizza and hamburgers, among others.

On average, people who consume the products listed above tend to exhibit a 51 percent higher chance of developing depression than their peers who eat healthier foods, PsychCentral reports. Researchers behind the new study say that a dose-response relationship was discovered as well.

This link implies that “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression,” explains the lead author of the research, Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, in an interview for SINC. People who eat poor diets also tend to be single more often, be less physically active, and eating less healthy foods.

The latter category includes consuming less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil, on average, than people with healthier dietary choices. Most individuals in this group are also smokers, and tend to work in excess of 45 hours per week.

“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,” Sánchez-Villegas goes on to say.

“Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression,” concludes the expert, who is a researcher at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The study should be of special interest for authorities in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, where obesity epidemics are sweeping through the general population, placing great strains on healthcare systems.

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