New Mood News About Fast Food

Lexi Petronus, Glamour magazine

While it may be quick--and, yes, sometimes deceptively tasty--fast food doesn't have a whole lot of checks in the "healthy" column. But you knew that. What you might not know is that it could play a role in your mental state.

According to new research
by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, there may be a correlation between how much fast food you eat and how depressed you are.

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The study found that participants who regularly ate fast food (pizza, burgers, fries) and commercially-produced baked goods (croissants, doughnuts, muffins) were 51 percent more likely to develop depression. (All 8,964 people in the study were not depressed when the research began.) The researchers also found that fast-food eaters were more likely to be more sedentary, smoke, eat other unhealthy foods, and work 45 or more hours a week.

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The study adds new information to earlier studies, such as the one reporting a correlation between depression and people who ate fried foods, and another that found a link between the consumption of trans fats and irritability and aggression.

But experts say it's not entirely fair to blame fast food--the newest study not a demonstration of cause and effect. Says Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center: "Higher intake of fast food may very well increase risks of depression by causing poor health in general. But depression may also increase fast food intake. [...] We use the term 'comfort food' for a reason. It can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. So it may be that people with depression are turning to [fast food] for relief."

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What do you think about this possible relationship between fast food and your mood? When's the last time you ate fast food? What was it? (My answer: about 10 days ago. A bean burrito from Taco Bell.)


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