In particular, several studies have indicated that people who consume junk food frequently are more likely to suffer from depression. Eating junk food is one of the worst things you can do to your body, and also to your mind , since there is a strong relationship between this type of food (high in saturated fat, refined flour and added sugar) and our state of health mental.
The higher the glycemic index, the higher the risk of depression
A study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University wanted to find out whether foods with a high glycemic index (a scale that ranks foods high in carbohydrates by how much glucose levels rise after consumption) were associated with increased chances of depression .
They analyzed data within the questionnaires of the Women’s Health Initiative, carried out to learn more about the health of women beyond menopause, a group little studied. They limited the information to that of some 70,000 women, none of them depressed at the beginning of the study.
The data showed that following a diet with a high glycemic index , including those rich in refined flours and added sugars , was associated with a greater chance of depression . On the other hand, some aspects of the diet seemed to have the opposite effect, such as fiber , eating whole grains , fresh and whole fruits and vegetables or lactose, a type of sugar that comes from dairy and that is in a position Low on the glycemic index.
In this study it was not possible to determine the mechanisms by which this relationship occurs, but the authors suggested different possibilities: either that excessive consumption of refined sugars and starches is a risk factor for inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases , both related to development of depression, or that this type of diet leads to the development of insulin resistance , which has been linked to cognitive defects similar to those found in people with major depression.
More fast food, more depression (and vice versa)
Another study, has also tried to delve into the relationship between junk food and depression. Conducted by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, they concluded that people who often consume these foods are 37% more likely to develop depression than those who never or almost never consume them, and that as the amount ingested, these odds also increase.
The researchers studied a group of nearly 9,000 people for 2 to 6 years as part of a long-term analysis. At the beginning of the study, none of them had been diagnosed with depression or were taking antidepressants. At the end, about 500 had been diagnosed or were taking this medication.
Participants were asked to report how often they ate foods from a certain list, which included things like hamburgers , hot dogs , pizza, or sugary industrial pastries .
The authors noted that the more fast food you eat, the greater the risk of depression , and that the correlation is also the reverse : the more depressed you are, the more likely you are to eat large amounts of junk food.
What causes what?
In both cases, researchers have not been able to unravel how eating junk food causes depression, and whether or not it actually happens the other way around. What does seem clear is that both things go hand in hand.
There are more factors involved: people who eat larger amounts of junk food are usually single or living alone, are less active and have other bad eating habits , such as eating little fruit and vegetables as well as few healthy fatty acids in the form of nuts, fish or olive oil. They also tend to have bad habits outside of the kitchen: smoking or working more than 45 hours a week.
Although much remains to be investigated to clarify how fast food and depression are related to each other, it seems clear that reducing the amount of these foods we eat is not only good for our body, but also for our mind.