Fast Food and Depression – What’s the Connection?

If you are what you eat, then consumers of Happy Meals should be doing great. Nevertheless, a team of Spanish researchers say that eating convenience food is more likely a sign of possible depression than the reverse.

The Spanish investigators suggest that people who eat a significant portion of their regular diet at fast food joints or who splurge regularly on sugary carbohydrates are over 50 percent more likely to be depressed than people who most often eat traditionally prepared foods. In fact, the Spanish study suggests a direct link between how much fast food a person eats and their risk for developing depression. Back in the U.S. experts agree that a linkage probably exists between the two, but are less certain which came first the chicken or the egg – or in this case, the Whopper or the depression.

Eating large amounts of fast food is certainly unhealthy and ill health is a risk factor for depression. On the other hand, depressed people may seek out these foods as a source of comfort. It’s far more likely say U.S. experts, that eating large amounts of fast food is just one part of an overall unhealthy lifestyle that is connected to depression. In other words, the Big Mac is probably a sign of depression rather than its cause.

None of which is to say that the occasional pizza or large order of fries will send anyone into depression. People with a generally healthy lifestyle of work, diet and exercise can enjoy fast food without wondering if it is a sign of latent unhappiness.

There is still hope.

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