You already know that the McLarge burger you're stuffing in your face isn't healthy for you. What you may not know, however, is that all that fast food is doing more than just expanding your waistline - it could be giving you a serious case of depression as well.
A study of some 8,964 people found that eating junk and fast food has a negative effect on mental health.Some of our American favorites - burgers, pizza, hot dogs - are on the list of fast or non-nutritional foods that contribute to a darker mood. In fact, the study found that people who eat those foods often were 51 percent more likely to become depressed, as evidenced by, among other signs and symptoms.Even small quantities are bad for youThe study also found that those most likely to over-indulge in such unhealthy fare were single, less physically active, smokers and those who worked more than 45 hours per week.Researchers, whose data have been published in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition, found that of the nearly 9,000 people studied over a six-month period, 493 were diagnosed with clinical depression or otherwise began taking anti-depressants. People with extremely high or low daily caloric intake, or had obesity-related diseases, were excluded from the study.Dr. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, lead researcher from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Grenada, said data found that commercially baked foods produce similarly depressive effects."Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression," she said. "Although more studies are necessary, the intake of this type of food should be controlled because of its implications on both health (obesity, cardiovascular diseases) and mental well-being."Sanchez-Villegas noted that her findings were similar to earlier studies that found a correlation between higher intake of fast food and depression.Her research supports the results of the SUN project in 2011, which were published in the PloS One journal. That six-month study of 12,059 people found 657 new cases of depression; in all, the study recorded a 42 percent increase in the risk of depression associated with fast food.Vicious cycleThere are lots of problems and issues associated with poor diets, not the least of which are health problems - obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke, to name a few.
But there is an added element of risk for those who seek relief from their food-caused depression by taking anti-depressant medications. That's because other studies have shown that taking medications for depression can actually increase depression and suicidal tendencies - a finding that is also backed by the Food and Drug Administration."Drug labels contain 70 negative side-effects on average.
Even very regularly prescribed drugs can have 100 negative side-effects, with some drugs lurking up around 525 negative side-effects. Suicidal thoughts leading to an increased risk of suicide is just one of those side-effects to look out for, following the very last possible side effects - death," says a report in Natural Society.Regarding the apparent link between fast food and depression, researchers aren't sure if one causes the other, or vice versa. Certainly people who are obese can become depressed about their condition, but it's not clear if unhealthy diets which are causing their obesity are also causing their depression, say scientists.What is clear, though, is that a poor diet and increased incidents of depression are related, and that should be just one more reason to drive by the drive-through and get yourself a healthy meal somewhere else.