Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fast Food Causing Depression

According to Cambridge Journals they have found a link between fast food and depression.
While many things can contribute to depression fast food was a very common denominator in the research. 
Objective Whereas the relationship between some components of diet, such as n-3 fatty acids and B-vitamins, and depression risk has been extensively studied, the role of fast-food or processed pastries consumption has received little attention.
 Conclusions Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption may have a detrimental effect on depression risk.
The study included over 9000 people and results showed those who ate a fast food diet and processed bakery items (danishes, donuts, pastries) showed a common need for prescriptions of anti depressants and/or treatment.

Many things can contribute to depression.  Stress at work, at home, and finances can over-whelm us into a rushed lifestyle.  As we rush to get to our next appointment we find it easier to grab items from vending machines or drive-thru rather than take the time to prepare a nutritious lunch.   I know I have been guilty myself about leaving the house for errands without snacks or a lunch and having to do a drive thru meal.  The problem is not the occasional value meal.  It is the regular visits, fast breakfast, fast dinners, too tired to cook so I will just microwave a TV dinner approach to foods.  It is the lifestyle that includes a fast food mentality that I think is contributing to this depression.
Take the over worked mom who needs a break from the endless cooking, cleaning, laundry, and wants to just grab something fast and easy to clean up.  The problem I see in common fast food is the vitamin and nutrients lacking in the meals.  This is a high calorie food of many simple carbs and meat.  Yes, you can occasionally get some apple slices in the kids happy meal, and they have made the portion of fries smaller, but where is the side salad of fresh greens or raw veggies.  Adults try to make good choices and grab the occasional salad but it is not always practical.  Think of the person rushing to get the next meeting and needs to eat with one hand while driving. The person that has five minutes because they get a 30 minute lunch break and spent most of it driving.  There are several influences that justify our reasoning to grab common fast food value meals.  So now you have a high calorie meal, no fresh greens, no B vitamins- that help combat stress, no anti-oxidants that stop free radical breakdown, among many other vitamin not consumed in this meal.  
Those who suffer from depression never intended to end up being treated for depression and stress.  They go about life day to day and don't even know they are now part of an American majority until they are in the doctors off with high blood pressure, weight gain, tired, and depressed.  Does it happen over night, No, it is a gradual process that can take 6 months to 10 years. 
What can you do?  Put your body and self first. 
You plan the errands, work schedule, projects, house, among others, you need to schedule your nutritious meals and make them convenient.
Think of your body as a car.  You change the oil, fluids, filter, and gas up with the correct fuel and it stays running.  Our bodies are designed to need the same things.   Look at the kids to the right.  Yes they made the kids smiling and frowning for visual effects, but do you really want your body running on these processed foods?  They taste great at the time, and we usually don't see how often we are consuming them and there lies the problem with fast and convenient.  If we take a mental effort to track and plan our meals we can see where we might be consuming too many junk food items.  Can we have these items, sure in moderation- meaning very seldom. 

Ideas for healthy convenient
  • Cut fresh fruits and veggies and have ready to go bags.
  • Have raw nuts and dried fruits in grab bags.
  • Remember to save a little of your dinner for tomorrows lunch, ready when you get up in the morning.  The night before, go ahead and put in a container ready to grab in the morning for your lunch that day.  
  • Remember to add a veggie and fruit to your lunch.  
  • Make sure you think about 3-4 servings fruits and 3-4 servings of vegetables in one day.
  • Have a water bottle you travel with and easy to carry. 
  • Yogurt and granola for breakfast or snacks.
  • Trail mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
If you eat for the reason to nourish your body in stead of just satisfying your hunger you will make better decisions in foods.  Also, planing ahead takes the guess work out of what to eat and removes the idea that  "I'll just grab something out of the machine".  If you have it on hand you will most likely eat what you have packed.  Try not to rush through your meals.  Make sure to chew your food 10-12 times before swallowing.  This will allow the digestive juices in your mouth to start its job in per-digesting the food which allows more nutrients to be broke down and absorbed.  If your digestion is having to work on breaking down big chunks of food, you will lose energy and nutrients.  This will also contribute to heartburn, gas, constipation, and stress.

Don't run on fast empty calorie foods anymore.  Turn your body into the machine that you demand of it everyday.  Slap stress and depression back with colorful, tasteful,and nutritious foods. 


  1. I seriously need to slow down when I eat. I grew up in a family of six and if you didn't eat quick, you missed out! Ha! Great information.

    1. I know Kelly, I am constantly telling my kids to slow down so they learn now. For some reason they think it will disappear on them. Thank you for stopping by. :-)

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