The consumption of fast food may be a major contributor to the depression especially among people living in urban areas, a study in Australia recently found.
Researchers at the James Cook University in Australia conducted an experiment where populations from two different islands with very distinct eating habits were screened for signs of depression.
People from the Torres Strait island who had easy access to fast food were interviewed by the researchers and asked for blood samples. The same was asked from people living in a more isolated island where no fast food outlets were present. People in this island relied on a steady diet of fish and other non-processed food.
Out of 100 people screened, 16 from the island with fast food access showed signs of moderate to severe depression. On the other hand, only three people from the island with no fast food access showed any depressive symptoms.
“People with major depressive symptoms were both younger and had higher take-away food consumption,” said Dr. Maximus Berger who led the study.
Clinical tests also showed a significant distinction in the levels of two fatty acids between the people of the two islands.
Levels of fatty acids associated with depression were higher in the respondents from the island with ready access to fast food. Levels of fatty acids associated with the prevention of depression, meanwhile, were higher among respondents who did not have access to fast food and instead ate seafood as a staple.
The study’s authors, however, noted that depression is a complex condition which can also be affected by one’s environment, physiology and emotional circumstances. The research, however, shows that there’s an increased risk for fast food eaters and their non-fast food-eating counterparts.
So much for making McDonald’s your comfort food when you’re down. It might actually make you sadder than you already are.