A new study in the journal Public Health Nutrition showed people who frequent drive-thrus and load their shopping cart with Entenmann’s and Twinkies suffer more depression.
The study looked at 8,964 people who had never been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. During the six-month study, 493 of these people were diagnosed with depression or began taking antidepressants.
Researchers here found people who ate commercial baked goods and fast food suffered higher rates of depression than those who forewent these foods.
More specifically, compared to those who maybe occasionally or never have fast and processed foods, those who regularly indulge are 51% more likely to develop depression.
While small amounts of these foods significantly increase your risk of depression, researchers found the more you eat, the more you risk becoming depressed.
Researchers also found people who eat McDonald’s and processed foods more likely to be single, less active, and eat lesser amounts of healthy stuff like nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil.
Fast- and processed-food frequenters are also more likely to work more than 45 hours a week and smoke cigarettes.
It doesn’t add up to a very happy picture.
These findings are nothing new. A study last year in the journal Preventive Medicine found that middle-aged women who indulge in fast food are more likely to suffer depression and increase their risk for numerous diseases.
The conclusions prove grim: despite Happy Meals and cute smiley-face logos, fast food detours and Little Debbies can leave you fat, sick, and really unhappy.
I’m a big fan of Paleo, lower-carb eating. That includes plenty of lean protein like grass-fed beef and wild salmon, copious green vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, and nuts and seeds. Your ancestors evolved on this diet, and it’s the one best suited for you to burn fat and enjoy abundant health.
That said, sometimes airport fast food and gas station snacks will be your only options. You’ve got to do the best with what you have. I want to show you how to make smart decisions in those circumstances.
You know, for instance, that at fast food joints, vegetable options are limited. So I want you to travel with Barlean’s Greens to get those alkalinizing greens you probably aren’t getting at fast food places.
You can always get a grilled chicken sandwich at these places and trash the bun. Some fast food places also do gourmet salads. Just skip anything fried or crunchy, and get the lowest-sugar dressing they offer. (Some of those packaged dressings come loaded with sugar and trans fat.)
More “upscale” fast food restaurants like Chipotle will customize your salad, so stick with those places whenever possible. I would suggest loading up a big salad with grilled chicken, avocado, salsa, and maybe some black beans with an olive oil and vinegar dressing.
My point is, you can make fast food work if you know how. I’m not suggesting you eat it every day, but if it’s your only option, you don’t have to succumb to the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal. (Which is maybe an extra value to your wallet, but not to your health.)
Same deal with snacks. If you’re at a gas station and need something to tide you till dinner, bypass the candy and chip aisles for a bag of raw almonds or other nuts or seeds.
I see more gas stations carry healthier options like apples, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, and nitrate-free jerky.
These provide smart, satisfying options to stay in fat-burning mode and not give in to junk foods that can trigger diabetes, depression, obesity, and lots of other health problems you most definitely don’t want.