#EatRight- High Junk Food Consumption Linked To Depression

Depression by Junk Food
Image used for representation only


Do you crave for a huge burger with loads of fries when you’re upset, or is it the large bucket of ice cream that you reach out too when you are feeling low?

A new study by James Cook University research team led by Professors Zoltan Sarnyai and Robyn McDermott examined at the link between depression and diets on a Torres Strait island where fast food was available and one on another isolated island which had no fast food outlets.

Dr Maximus Berger, the lead author of the study, said the team interviewed about 100 people on both islands.“We asked them about their diet, screened them for their levels of depression and took blood samples.

As you’d expect, people on the more isolated island with no fast food outlets reported significantly higher seafood consumption and lower take-away food consumption compared with people on the other island,” he said.

The researchers identified nineteen people as having moderate to severe depressive symptoms. Out of which sixteen were from the island where fast food is readily available, but only three from the other island.

“People with major depressive symptoms were both younger and had higher take-away food consumption,” said Dr Berger.

The researchers analysed the blood samples in collaboration with researchers at the University of Adelaide and found differences between the levels of two fatty acids in people who lived on the respective islands.

He said it was important to remember that contemporary Western diets have an abundance of the depression-linked fatty acid (n-6 PUFA) and a relative lack of the depression-fighting fatty acid (n-3 LCPUFA).

Professor Sarnyai says, “Depression is complex, it’s also linked to social and environmental factors so there will be no silver bullet cure, but our data suggest that a diet that is rich in n-3 LCPUFA as provided by seafood and low in n-6 PUFA as found in many take-away foods may be beneficial,” he said.

Professor Sarnyai said with the currently available data it was premature to conclude that diet can have a lasting impact on depression risk but called for more effort to be put into providing access to healthy food in rural and remote communities.

Here is what Pune’s nutritionists and informed citizens had to say on the findings of this interesting study:

Arpita Kaur, Nutritionist shares, “Junk food has a high amount of carbohydrate and cooked with lots of dairy products which helps you put on weight and makes you lazy.”

Our body needs essential nutrients for the brain to function well and junk food doesn’t meet your requirements. Such nutrient deficiency can lead to mental and behavioural disorders.

Kaur further adds, “Another research also shows that nutrients play an essential role in preventing depression.

Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, magnesium are known as preventive nutrients for depression. That’s why a person going through any mental illness is always told to follow a healthy rich diet.”

As the saying goes, ‘Good Food-Good Mood- a balanced diet is very important for a good mood. And it is always good to avoid unhealthy diets for multiples reasons, Kaur added.

Sarangi Rane, Athlete opines, The craving for junk food is unending, and the guilt you have after having that one cheese burst pizza and chocolate cake is also unending. For obvious reasons they’re interlinked.

The study may have scientific reasons, but yes, In my opinion to I have always ended up eating a little way too much then what my body needs and have upset myself for over a long period post this.

Maybe, this is another reason why young people fall more prone to depression all over the world, especially in India. Our culture is vast and so is the variety of food, Sarangi added.

A sizzling brownie has always boosted my mood though, it is difficult to understand the link between junk food and depression, says Rishikesh Awhad, Technical writer.


#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Ankita Malekar

Ankita Malekar

A talkative tiny speck in the world of Media, with an itch for travel and paws.
Ankita Malekar