2. Down in the Dumps? Blame It on the Junk
Spurlock also complained of debilitating depression during his fast-food experiment, and research shows that junk food does indeed have an effect on mood. Researchers at University College London in England found that people who regularly ate processed foods that were high in fat and sugar were 58 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who ate a more balanced diet, according to a study that appeared 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,” Dr. Eric Brunner, lead author of the study, told the Daily Mail.
Brunner and his peers concluded that relative to their calorie density, junk foods lack nutrients, like antioxidants, folate, and omega-3s, that contribute to good mental health. These important dietary elements come only from eating “wholesome foods.”
According to HealthAssist.net, certain foods and drinks act as powerful stimulants to the body and therefore contribute to stress and mood disorders. These processed foods—which contain synthetic additives like preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilizers, and flavor enhancers—are called pseudostressors or sympathomimetics.
So it seems that fast food hits us twice when it comes to depression; we suffer from what we consume along with it, and from what we don’t.