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5 Tips To Break The Fast Food Cycle

Any fast food junkies out there?

Any fast food junkies dealing with depression?

According to scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, there’s a direct connection between fast food and commercial baked goods and the risk of developing depression.

Fast food consumers are 51% more likely to develop depression than people who never or rarely eat fast food!

The study also showed:

…those participants who ate the most fast food and commercial baked goods were more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits (eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil). It was also common for individuals in this group to smoke and work over 45 hours per week.

So, if you’re consuming a lot of fast food and aren’t really sure how to break the cycle (or have tried and failed), these tips might help you:

1. Plan your snacks and meals.

People eat fast food for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it’s because they haven’t been grocery shopping in a while; other times it’s because they think they don’t have time to eat anything else.

Whatever the reason, you can help prevent trips to the drive-thru if you have something else to eat.

For example, if you plan to have some healthy munchies – such as baby carrots – in the ‘fridge, you can combat that french fry craving when it hits. If you know you have to work late and pack a salad or some fruits and veggies to hold you over until dinner, you can avoid calling in a pizza.

2. Make a grocery list.

Spinning off that, make a list before you head to the grocery store.

How many times have you gone grocery shopping without a list and with only a faint idea of what’s already in your kitchen? Generally, shopping like that leads to a whole lot of what you don’t need and not enough of what you do need.

You can’t eat healthy meals and snacks if you don’t have them.

Arm yourself with a list of food you need for the kinds of healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you planned for the week.

3. Call a friend.

Fighting the urge to make a midnight run to Burger King for some onion rings and whatever that delicious onion ring sauce is?

Well, maybe the timing’s different, and maybe it’s a different restaurant, but you get the idea: You’re stress eating or you didn’t plan your lunch properly or you haven’t been grocery shopping in a while and now you’re headed to the closest drive-thru.


Establish a buddy system with a friend or family member so that before you grab your keys or flip your turn signal, you can call that person and talk it out.

4. Research the food you’re eating.

Knowing more about what you’re putting in your body can help you make better choices.

For example, if you knew that peanut butter has thiamin that helps the brain and nervous systems turn glucose into energy and KFC’s Kentucky Grilled Chicken contains PhIP (a federal government-classified carcinogen), wouldn’t you find a nice spread of peanut butter on whole wheat more appealing?

5. Reward yourself.

A fitness instructor friend of mine gives herself one day a month to cheat. She does pretty much anything she wants to do and doesn’t feel bad about it.

Giving herself that reward (and freedom!) is great for her mental wellness; keeping it to just once a month is great for her efforts.

Of course, you don’t have to reward yourself. You don’t have to have a cheat day. You may break the fast food cycle and never want to go back.

Yet, if the occasional double quarter-pounder or order of onion rings still appeals to you, go ahead and reward yourself. It could just keep you on track.

How about YOU?

Do you struggle with fast food? Do you think it’s contributed to depression?

5 Tips To Break The Fast Food Cycle

Alicia Sparks

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2012). 5 Tips To Break The Fast Food Cycle. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 21, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/your-mind/2012/06/5-tips-to-break-the-fast-food-cycle/


Last updated: 16 Jun 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jun 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.