6 thoughts on “One Surprising (And Often Overlooked) Cause of Depression

  • December 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Couldn’t there also be an economic connection? People who eat fast food regularly are more likely to have more limited incomes. I know for myself, economics and worrying about paying my bills is a major contributing factor to my depression. I also know that it is far cheaper to buy a burger to fill the pit of my stomach than a salad. I do try to limit my fast food consumption, however the reality of a hurried life makes it sometimes challenging. Poverty plays an important role in the mental health of humans.

    • December 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Sheila,

      Certainly there is an economic component to depression. In this case, the study controlled for factors related to socioeconomic status, as well as the tendency to engage in more health related behavior (such as exercising, taking vitamins, regular healthcare, etc).

      Of course, no study can completely eliminate those factors, so I suspect they do play some role. It is interesting, however to consider what benefits in mental health can be seen by eliminating fast food.

      Claire Nana, LMFT

  • December 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I don’t doubt that there’s a correlation between the consumption of fast food and depression, but I have to wonder how much of this would be due to the fast food itself being a cause of depression, as opposed to how much of it might be due to something about the lifestyles of those who consume fast food (especially those who consume lots of fast food) in comparison to those who don’t consume fast food. Or maybe it could be a combination of the fast food itself and the lifestyles of those who consume larger amounts of fast food (maybe also combined with other factors that would be associated with more fast food consumption). I will say that regardless as to how much eating fast food itself contributes to causing depression, those from societies that are more traditional neither seem to eat fast food, nor do they lead the kinds of lives that are likely to lead them to think that eating fast food would be a very good option. And the rates of depression in societies that are more traditional are much lower than they are in modern societies, at least according to some scientific research.

    • December 19, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Shadow,

      I wondered also whether other health related factors contributed to the connection between consuming less fast food and lower levels of depression. It would seem likely that people who eat less fast food also exercise more, take vitamins, get more sleep, and are generally more concerned about health. However, quality research also eliminates factors that could obfuscate results, and this was the case in the referenced study. All other health related factors (exercise levels, rates of previous disease and depression) and general lifestyle factors that contribute to mental health were controlled for.

      Of course, no research concludes with cause and effect, or can control for all other factors completely. However, it is an interesting question what impact simply eliminating fast food from the diet would have on rates of depression.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Claire Nana LMFT

  • December 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Maybe related, something that I have found that affects symptoms of depression – dehydration. I find that I lose mental resilience when I haven’t had enough water.

    I am a practicing depressive, long term on medication.

    • December 23, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      Hi Charles,

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention, and I do know that even slight dehydration interrupts physical performance so I’m sure it affects mood as well.

      I also just found some interesting research on the efficacy of medication plus omega 3 fatty acids for depression.

      Thanks again for your comments.
      ClaireNana LMFT


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