Which is cause and which is effect? A study confirming a link between eating fast food and depression is one thing, figuring out whether or not the subjects are eating fast food because they're depressed, or whether their diet actually induced the condition, would probably be more helpful at this stage.
Nevertheless, you have to admit that time spent in McDonald's would depress anyone.
According to a recent study headed by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, eating commercial baked goods (fairy cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc.) and fast food (hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza) is linked to depression.
Published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, the results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression.
Furthermore, a dose-response relationship was observed. In other words this means that "the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression," explains Almudena Sánchez-Villegas.
more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits
The study demonstrates that those participants who eat the most fast food and commercial baked goods are more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week are other prevalent characteristics of this group.
With regard to the consumption of commercial baked goods, the results are equally conclusive. "Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression," as the university researcher from the Canary Islands points out.
The study sample belonged to the SUN Project (University of Navarra Diet and Lifestyle Tracking Program). It consisted of 8,964 participants that had never been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. They were assessed for an average of six months, and 493 were diagnosed with depression or started to take antidepressants.
Depression affects 121 million people worldwide. This figure makes it one of the main global causes of disability-adjusted life year. Further still, in countries with low and medium income it is the leading cause.
Source: FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology