Junk Food Linked to Depression in Adults


A recent study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry gives new meaning to the hackneyed expression: you are what you eat.

A study conducted by British and French epidemiologists revealed a startling connection between junk food and depression. The study assessed the dietary patterns of 3,486 men and women using a ‘daily intake’ questionnaire to determine nutritional value, calculate portions and gauge frequency of meals. Five years later, the participants were asked to complete a new survey. This time the questionnaire was designed to assess depression. The results were tallied and adjusted to accommodate variables such as age and lifestyle factors (smoking, lack of exercise, etc.). The scientists discovered that participants who followed a healthier diet (daily servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains) had a significantly lower rate of depression than those who regularly snacked on junk foods (fried foods, foods high in refined sugars and carbohydrates, processed meats, high-fat dairy products, and carbonated beverages).

We all know what junk food can do to our bodies, but many of us are unaware of the role that our diet plays on our mood. Until recently, we assumed that depression was the result of a psychological disturbance thought to be brought on by some sort of chemical imbalance. However, new studies have determined that certain foods lower the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin and interfere with the body’s natural ability to regulate mood, sleep and can also cause cognitive impairments such as memory loss and foggy thinking. Serotonin-lowering foods include salmon, milk, eggs, avocado, apples and horsemeat.

Low-carbohydrate foods should also be avoided at all costs. Carbohydrates aid in the production of serotonin – eating ‘low-carb’ options deprive your body of essential carbohydrates and in turn diminish the production of serotonin. Some low-carb foods that play a role in lowering serotonin include berries (raspberries and cranberries), mushrooms and eggplant. Tryptophan also helps normalize the production of serotonin. Foods that are low in the essential amino acid known as tryptophan should be consumed in moderation to avoid feelings of depression. Foods with low tryptophan include lean meat, fish and turkey.

Another huge catalyst for depression is alcohol. Alcohol is widely known as a depressant and has been linked to a variety of diseases including diabetes, atherosclerosis and cancer and has also been known to lead to heart attack and stroke. Alcohol has been proven to lower not only serotonin but also the chemical norepinephrine. In addition, alcohol destroys essentials vitamins, causing premature decay of tissues, organs and organ systems. Alcohol can also inhibit the effects of stress hormones on the body. This is why hangovers leave you feeling physically, emotionally and mentally drained.

Study: Fast food linked to depression

By Jayna Barker | The News Record

Burgers, french fries and pizza might taste good, but consumption of processed junk food is not only bad for the waistline, but also for mental health.

A new study in The British Journal of Psychiatry suggests eating junk food is likely to cause depression.

British and French epidemiologists — scientists who study diseases and pathogens — analyzed food and mood data from 3,486 men and women.

The participants were asked about the type of food they ate and the size of the portions during the previous year.

The data was then converted to a daily intake and two dietary patterns were determined: the “whole food pattern” (a high daily intake of healthy fruits, vegetables and fish) and the “processed food pattern” (a diet consisting of lots of sweetened desserts, chocolates, fried food, processed meat, refined grains, high-fat dairy products and condiments).

Five years later, the same participants filled out a questionnaire that measured symptoms of depression. The scientists found high consumption of the processed foods was more likely to lead to depression, while people who ate healthier were less likely to be depressed.

Fatty processed foods linked to depression

Eating well may help stave off depression later on in life, a new study claims.

But people who are partial to fatty processed foods may be up to twice as likely to suffer from depression than their healthy eating counterparts, according to the study conducted at University College London.

The research, which linked dietary habits to depression, found that a diet that includes fresh vegetables, fruit and fish appears to prevent the onset of depressive symptoms in middle age.

“Our results suggest that consuming fruits, vegetables and fish may afford protection against the onset of depressive symptoms, whereas a diet rich in processed meat, chocolates, sweetened desserts, fried food, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products would increase people’s vulnerability,” say the authors.

Even after the research group controlled for other factors such as smoking, exercise and weight the links between diet and depression remained.

Previous studies have focused on the effect of individual nutrients on depression. This is the first study to take into account an individual’s overall diet.

The researchers propose that ‘whole food’ diet may help avert the onset of depression because of the combined effect of nutrients from lots of different types of food, rather than there being one nutrient responsible.

In particular they point out that certain foods, including broccoli, cabbage, spinach and lentils, contain folate — the naturally occurring form of folic acid, which is thought to protect against depression. Additionally, antioxidants, present in high-levels in fruits and vegetables, have already been found in previous studies to be associated with lower risk of depression.

Additionally, the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids — a major component of neuron membranes in the brain — that are found in fish may contribute to the effect.

Although they admit further research is needed, the authors link processed food diets to rates of coronary heart disease and inflammation, which are already known to potentially increase the risk of depression.

“The deleterious effect of a processed food diet on depression is a novel finding,” the study asserts.

“Our research suggests that healthy eating policies will generate additional benefits to health and well-being, and that improving people’s diet should be considered as a potential target for preventing depressive disorders.” – Irish Medical Times

YouTube video:

Share this with your friends
Orthomolecular-treatment-of-depression.pdf68.08 KB