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Eating junk food increases risk of depression, says study

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, October 1, 2018  /  05:41 am
Eating junk food increases risk of depression, says study

A study found that a poor diet can induce systemic inflammation, which can lead to an increased risk of depression. (Shutterstock/beats1)

A recent study has found that eating junk food increases the risk of becoming depressed.

The Guardian reported that researchers from the United Kingdom, Spain and Australia examined 41 previous studies on the link between diet and depression, with over 32 000 participants from the UK, United States, France, Spain and Australia.

Dr. Camille Lassale, the study’s lead author, said a poor diet could induce systemic inflammation, which could lead to an increased risk of depression.

Food that contain a large amount of fat, sugar or were processed for too long (such as junk food) can cause inflammation in the body, which is also known as systemic inflammation.

Smoking, pollution, obesity and lack of exercise can trigger the inflammation. With pro-inflammatory molecules getting transferred to the brain, they can affect the molecules that are responsible for mood control.

Read also: Au revoir, baguette! France goes burger-mad

Dr. Cosmo Hallstrom, a depression expert from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London, said the chemistry in the gut was similar to the ones in the brain. “So, it’s not surprising that things that influence the gut might influence the brain too,” he added.

The researchers said poor diet had a causal link with the onset of depression, stating that the studies excluded people with depression at the beginning of the study.

Researcher Dr. Tasnine Akbaraly said they found a strong argument in favor of a healthy diet as one of the methods used in psychiatry medicine. “Our findings support routine dietary counselling as part of a doctor’s office visit, especially with mental health practitioners,” she added.

The study, published in the Molecular Psychiatry journal, also found that the traditional Mediterranean diet, consisting of fish, fruit, nuts and vegetables, would likely decrease the risk of depression.

“This large-scale study showed evidence that a healthy diet can improve our mood and help give us more energy,” said Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chairwoman of the UK's Royal College of General Practitioners. “It adds to the growing body of research, which shows that what we eat may have an impact on our mental health.” (wng)


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