There’s no doubt that food and emotions are connected. Anyone who’s sought solace in pizza or a pint of ice cream knows that it can make you feel better. But frequent consumption of junk food seems to have the opposite effect. According to new research, it’s depressing.
A research team at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and University of Granada studied the diets and mental health of almost 9.000 people over six months. By the end of this period, 493 participants were categorized as being depressed if they had been diagnosed with depression by a physician or prescribed antidepressants.
The scientists found that consumers of fast food (pizza, hamburgers) or commercial baked goods (doughnuts, croissants) were 51 percent more likely to develop depression, than people who only ate these foods occasionally or not at all.
Lead author of the study Almudena Sánchez-Villegas explained that “the more fast food you consume, the greater your risk of depression … [but] even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression.”
Furthermore, the study portrays fast food consumers as inactive, vegetable-averse smokers who work a lot. And they are often single. Weird?
Sánchez-Villegas, A., Toledo, E., de Irala, J., Ruiz-Canela, M., Pla-Vidal, J., & Martínez-González, M. (2011). Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption and the risk of depression Public Health Nutrition, 15 (03), 424-432 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980011001856