Junk food diet can lead to depression

There'sbeen yet another blow to junk food lovers, as doctors warn that a high-fat diet could be getting you down. In fact, a diet rich in processed food, sweets and desserts could be making you depressed. Researchers at University College London found that those who regularly indulge in junk food are almost 60 per cent more likely to suffer from depression than those tucking into fresh fruit, veg and fish.

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Dr Eric Brunner, one of the researchers, wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry: "There seem to be various aspects of lifestyle such as taking exercise which also matter, but it appears that diet is playing an independent role."

The study involved data on 3,486 male and female civil servants aged around 55. Each volunteer completed a questionnaire on their eating habits followed by a self-assessment report for depression five years down the line. Those with the highest consumption of processed food were found to be 58 per cent more likely to be feeling the blues.

Scientists believe that it is the high levels of antioxidants in a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables that protect against mental anguish, while the high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids founds in fish may also help to ward off depression. It could be, however, that the 'whole food' diet, containing many nutrients from a number of different foods is the key.

But Dr Brunner warned that the reverse can also be true, with poor eating essentially a strain on the body. He said: "If your diet is high in foods that make blood sugar levels go up and down like a yo-yo, then it's not good for your blood vessels and is bound to have an effect on the brain."

As hard as it is to resist the temptation of a quarter pounder with fries, the evidence against our junk food comforts just keeps on mounting up.

Will this research make you avoid junk food or do you think that it can be a comfort when you're feeling down? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.