Eating junk is not only bad for your waistline, but bad your mood as well. And since mood starts from your brain, eating junk food just may also bad for your brain. According to a recent study, eating high amounts junk food may increase risk of depression.
The study, carried out by Manchester Metropolitan’s Bioscience Research Centre, found that eating a diet consisting of foods known to promote inflammation makes you more likely to develop depression.
Related: 10 Foods You Should Never, Ever Eat
Now, while we often equate junk food with fast food, this is not totally accurate. Many “healthy” fast-food establishments continue to pop up, that offer busy health-conscious people healthier food options.
What Is Depression
Depression may be defined as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection”, according to online dictionary (Google). It is marked by sadness, and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, among other things.
Now, while people often say they are “depressed” when they experience “the blues”; periods of sadness or grief that usually come after a difficult life experience that we all go through from time to time, this is not depression per se. Calling this “depressive mood” may be more accurate. Typically, we are able to function through it and we do bounce out of it sooner or later.
Depression lingers much longer and can impact work, sleep and recreation. And there is clinical depression, a serious mental condition or illness that requires professional help and even medication.
Junk Food and Depression Study
As mentioned, a new study shows eating junk food may increase risk of depression. The study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, showed that participants who ate a more inflammatory diet were 40 percent more likely to develop depression or depressive symptoms. These typically would be foods that high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and carbohydrates, ergo junk food.
The researchers analyzed 11 existing studies involving 101,950 participants, of varied ages (16-72 years old), ethnicity, and both genders, spanning USA, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. Presence of depression or depressive symptoms was recorded in all participants using self-reporting, medical diagnosis and/or use of anti-depressants.
Each participant was assigned a score of how inflammatory their diet was, according to a dietary inflammatory index.
It was found that participants who ate more inflammatory diets that were high in saturated fats, and carbohydrates were 40 percent more likely to develop depression or depressive symptoms. The results were consistent across all ages, gender, and geographic locations, as well as in both short and long follow-up periods.