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Junk Food Can Affect Mental Health

junk food

I always thought that when one was depressed one turned to junk food for comfort. But according to a recent study in the Public Health Nutrition journal it is the other way around. The more junk food one  eats the more prone one is to depression. This study shows that there is an increased risk of depression in people who regularly consume junk foods – pizzas and burgers, doughnuts and croissants.

Researchers (from University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the University of Granada) also found that people who eat junk food regularly lead a more sedentary lifestyle, are likely to be smokers , and work over 45 hours a week.

The 8,964 research subjects were people with no prior diagnosis of depression and were not on any anti-depression medication. Their emotional health and food intake were tracked for six months. By the end of the study 493 people were depressed or taking anti-depressants. Those who ate the most junk food were 51% more likely to become depressed compared with those test subjects who ate the least junk food.

The Mayo Clinic recently reported on a British study that showed that those people who ate a lot of fried food, desserts and high fat foods had an increased risk of developing depression symptoms whereas those who ate a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and fish had a much lower risk of becoming depressed.

Yet another study – in the journal PLos ONE - suggested there may be a link between the ingestion of lots of trans fats and irritability.

Junk food is a quick way to have a meal and to satisfy hunger cravings in a fast manner, but over the long term there are many physical and emotional complications that can arise.

How often do you eat junk food? Do you balance it out with healthy whole foods?


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Mayo Clinic