Fast Food Depresses You
Over 121 million people worldwide are affected by depression, this disease being thus one of the main global causes of disability. Depression can have many causes. One of them could be the food we eat shows a recent study made by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada. Although previous studies showed that some nutrients can prevent depressive disorders (group B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil), to this day little is known about the role that diet plays in developing this disease.
The new study shows that eating commercial baked goods (fairy cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc.) and fast food (hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza) increases the likelihood of depression by 51%. The results of the study are published in the Public Health Nutrition journal.
Furthermore, it was also shown that the chance of developing signs of depression is increased by the quantity of fast food that a person consumes. This is called a dose-response relationship and this is an argument that fast food consumption is a risk factor for depression.
The consumption of fast food products and commercial baked goods is more frequently found in those participants that are single, less active, are smokers and work more that 45 hours per day. Eating fast food regularly is also associated with poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. The results are equally conclusive regarding the consumption of commercial baked goods: “Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression,” as the university researcher from the Canary Islands points out.
The study was made on a group of 8,964 subjects that have never been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. After carefully observing the group for six months, the researchers counted 493 subjects that were diagnosed with depression or started to take antidepressants.
A previous study, conducted in 2011, also found a link between eating habits and depression. The SUN Project (University of Navarra Diet and Lifestyle Tracking Program) counted a total of 657 new cases of depression out of the 12,059 people analysed over more that six months. This correlates to a 42% increase in the risk of developing depression due to fast food consumption, which is lower than that found in the current study.
Almudena SÃ¡nchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, to SINC concludes that “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.”