Delicious dishes that are part of the menu in the popular fast food outlets do not only “burden” our silhouette with extra pounds but affect our mental health, too, according to a study by Spanish researchers.

As researchers from the University of Las Palmas, Canary Islands, explained in a publication in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition, people who often eat fast food have a more increased risk of developing depression than those who follow a healthier nutritional pattern.

The study

The study involved 9,000 volunteers who until then, had not been diagnosed with depression. Experts were watching them for a period of six months.

As a result, they found that people who often ate fast food such as hamburgers, pizzas, and hot dogs were 51% more likely to develop depression than those who did not fall to such “temptations”.

At the end of the experiment, about 493 people who paid regular visits to fast-food restaurants were diagnosed as suffering from depression and were given antidepressants.

The conclusions and expert opinions

Even the consumption of small quantities of junk food is associated with greater possibilities of developing depression“, explains leading researcher Dr. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas.

According to her, the study serves to confirm previous research findings that linked fast food eating with depression.

“Although these findings need further research, the consumption of specific foods should be approached with caution as it appears that they have serious impacts on both physical (with possible consequences including obesity and cardiovascular diseases) and mental health”, concludes the expert.

This research is another example that demonstrates how the impact of our lifestyle choices goes beyond physical health. What we do and what we eat can also affect our mental health and cognitive functions. It’s worth noting that other studies have also found a link between unhealthy food consumption and poor cognitive performance.

Do you often eat junk food or do you try to go with healthier food choices? Share your opinion with us.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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