Fast Food Intake and Depression
Junk food equals junk brain.
Study Title:Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption and the risk of depression.
Whereas the relationship between some components of diet, such as n-3 fatty acids and B-vitamins, and depression risk has been extensively studied, the role of fast-food or processed pastries consumption has received little attention.
Consumption of fast food (hamburgers, sausages, pizza) and processed pastries (muffins, doughnuts, croissants) was assessed at baseline through a validated semi-quantitative FFQ. Participants were classified as incident cases of depression if they reported a physician diagnosis of depression or the use of antidepressant medication in at least one of the follow-up questionnaires. Cox regression models were fit to assess the relationship between consumption of fast food and commercial baked goods and the incidence of depression.
The SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra - University of Navarra Follow-up) Project, Spain.
Participants (n 8964) from a Spanish cohort.
After a median follow-up of 6·2 years, 493 cases of depression were reported. A higher risk of depression was associated with consumption of fast food (fifth (Q5) v. first quintile (Q1): hazard ratio (HR) = 1·36; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·81; P trend = 0·003). The results did not change after adjustment for the consumption of other food items. No linear relationship was found between the consumption of commercial baked goods and depression. Participants belonging to consumption quintiles Q2-Q5 showed an increased risk of depression compared with those belonging to the lowest level of consumption (Q1; HR = 1·38; 95 % CI 1·06, 1·80).
Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption may have a detrimental effect on depression risk.
From press release:
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.
A long-term study
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.
This new data supports the results of the SUN project in 2011, which were published in the PLoS One journal. The project recorded 657 new cases of depression out of the 12,059 people analysed over more than six months. A 42% increase in the risk associated with fast food was found, which is lower than that found in the current study.
Sánchez-Villegas concludes that “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.”
The impact of diet on mental health
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.
Sánchez-Villegas A, Toledo E, de Irala J, Ruiz-Canela M, Pla-Vidal J, Martínez-González MA. Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption and the risk of depression. Public Health Nutr. 2012 March 15(3):424-32.
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