"Long before it's in the papers"
January 27, 2015


Link between fast food, depression “confirmed”

April 2, 2012
Courtesy of SINC
and World Science staff

A new study sup­ports past re­search ty­ing fast food con­sump­tion to a great­er risk of de­pres­sion.

Pub­lished in the re­search jour­nal Pub­lic Health Nu­tri­tion, the re­sults in­di­cate that fre­quent con­sumers of fast food are 51 per­cent more likely to de­vel­op de­pres­sion than those who eat lit­tle or none of it. And “the more fast food you con­sume, the great­er the risk of de­pres­sion,” said Al­mu­dena Sán­chez-Villegas of the Uni­vers­ity of Las Pal­mas de Gran Ca­naria in Spain, the stu­dy’s lead au­thor.

A new study sup­ports past re­search show­ing that eat­ing fast food is linked to a great­er risk of de­pres­sion. (Image © Joey)

The study in­clud­ed 8,964 par­ti­ci­pants that had nev­er been di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion or tak­en an­ti­de­pres­sants. They were as­sessed for an av­er­age of six months; dur­ing that time, 493 were di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion or started to take an­ti­de­pres­sants.

The re­search al­so found that par­ti­ci­pants who ate the most fast food and com­mer­cially baked goods were more likely to be sin­gle, less ac­tive and have poor di­e­tary habits, which in­clud­ed eat­ing less fruit, nuts, fish, veg­eta­bles and ol­ive oil. Smok­ing and work­ing more than 45 hours per week were oth­er prev­a­lent char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The da­ta was found to sup­port re­search pub­lished last year in the jour­nal PLoS One, which recorded 657 new cases of de­pres­sion out of 12,059 peo­ple an­a­lyzed over more than six months. A 42 per­cent in­crease in de­pres­sion risk as­so­ci­at­ed with fast food was found.

“Although more stud­ies are nec­es­sary, the in­take of this type of food should be con­trolled,” Sánchez-Villegas pro­posed. He cit­ed its ef­fects for both men­tal and phys­i­cal health, in­clud­ing its es­tab­lished ten­den­cy to pro­mote obes­ity and car­di­o­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

De­pres­sion af­fects an es­ti­mat­ed 121 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide. Pre­vi­ous stud­ies sug­gest that cer­tain nu­tri­ents may help pre­vent de­pres­sion. These in­clude group B vi­ta­mins, omega-3 fat­ty acids and ol­ive oil, as well as a healthy “Mediterranean”-type di­et more gen­er­al­ly.

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A new study supports past research showing that eating fast food is linked to a greater risk of depression. Published in the research journal Public Health Nutrition, the results indicate that frequent consumers of fast food are 51% more likely to develop depression than those who eat little or none. And “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression,” said Almudena Sánchez-Villegas of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, the study’s lead author. The study included 8,964 participants that had never been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. They were assessed for an average of six months; during that time, 493 were diagnosed with depression or started to take antidepressants. The research also found that participants who eat the most fast food and commercial baked goods were more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which included eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week were other prevalent characteristics. The data supports previous research published last year in the journal PLoS One, which recorded 657 new cases of depression out of 12,059 people analyzed over more than six months. A 42% increase in depression risk associated with fast food was found. “Although more studies are necessary, the intake of this type of food should be controlled,” Sánchez-Villegas proposed. He cited its effects for both mental and physical health, including its established tendency to promote obesity and cardiovascular disease. Depression affects an estimated 121 million people worldwide. Previous studies suggest that certain nutrients may help prevent depression. These include group B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil, as well as a healthy “Mediterranean”-type diet more generally.