Does Eating Junk food Result in Depression?

Those who are regular consumers of junk food products are over 50% more likely to become clinically depressed compared to those who refrain from burgers, fries, pizza and other associated foods, researchers in the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and the University of Granada have discovered.

Furthermore, according to lead author Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, the research, which has been published within the journal Public Health Nutrition, also demonstrated a dose-response relationship, which essentially implies that the more fast food or commercial baked foods (doughnuts, croissants, etc.) an individual eats, the larger the risk that they will become depressed as a result.

The research also learned that subjects who ate the highest quantities of these kinds of foods have poor overall eating styles (i.e. eating fewer servings of vegetables and fruit, fish, and nuts) and poor exercise habits, the Spanish Foundation for Science (FECYT) said in a pr release on Friday.

They are also more prone to be single, they discovered, according to FECYT.

As a part of their study, Sánchez-Villegas and colleagues followed a sample of nearly 9,000 individuals affiliated with the sun’s rays Project (University of Navarra Lifestyle and diet Tracking Program).

None of them had ever been diagnosed or treated for depression before the start of study, and after an average of six month’s worth of assessment, nearly 500 of these had either received such a diagnosis or had started taking antidepressants.

“This new data supports the outcomes of the SUN project in 2011, that have been published within the PLoS One journal,” the FECYT media advisory said. “The project recorded 657 new cases of depression out of the 12,059 people analyzed over a lot more than 6 months. A 42% rise in the risk related to junk food was discovered, which is less than that found in the current study.”

While Sánchez-Villegas admits that “more studies are necessary,” the researcher adds that “the consumption of this kind of food ought to be controlled because of its implications on both health (obesity, cardiovascular diseases) and mental well-being.”

However, within an interview with Dr. Alethea Turner of ABC News, Yale University´s Prevention Research Center Director Dr. David Katz suggested the study might have the cause-effect relationship reversed.

“Higher intake of fast food might easily increase perils of depression by causing illness in general. But depression can also increase junk food intake,” he explained. “We use the term ℠comfort food´ for a reason. It can benefit alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Therefore it may be that individuals with depression are embracing [fast food] for relief.”

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