Top 7 Foods That Make You Depressed
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July 20, 2014, last updated July 9, 2016
By L. Carr,  Featured Columnist

Chowing down on one too many cheeseburgers may make you feel
guilty and miserable, but which foods can actually contribute to
depression – a serious disorder that affects around 32 million
Americans (University of Michigan, 2013)?

Depression can be seriously debilitating and its symptoms can severely
interfere with your everyday life.

Experts are still not completely certain what causes depression – your
genetics, environment, personality and stress levels are all said to play
a part.

But did you know your diet can also raise or lower your risk of
depression? Certain foods can even make it more likely you will suffer
from this mental health condition. What should you avoid putting on
your shopping list if you want to eat your way to a healthier body and

How Does Food Affect Depression?

The link between diet and depression is still unclear and research is
being undertaken to discover how food affects mental health. It is
generally understood that a healthy diet increases your general health
and may therefore reduce the risk of severe depression – a 2013 study
from University of Eastern Finland shows those following a healthy
eating plan are less at risk.

There is not sufficient evidence to say which individual foods can help
relieve depression but, in fact, there is more evidence to suggest that
certain foods can cause depression.

What Are The Symptoms of Food-Related Depression?

Everyone suffers in a slightly different way from depression, whether it
is caused by the food you eat or the amount of sunlight you get.
Symptoms of depression are complex. As a general rule, you feel sad
and hopeless, and depression causes you to lose interest in the
activities you used to enjoy. In men, depression can be expressed as
sadness or it can be expressed as
anger, raging and severe irritation.
Know someone who is angry all the time? It could be depression.

Physical symptoms include a
change in appetite or weight, disturbed
sleep, lack of energy, constipation, slow movements, and difficulties
interacting in social situations.

We looked at the available scientific evidence to discover those foods
you should avoid if you want to give yourself the best chance of living


Sugary treats taste great when you’re in need of a pick-me-up but the
rush of refined sugar from eating pastries, candy, chocolate, and soda
can cause a blood glucose spike. Then the trouble starts. For after the
spike, comes the crash. Sugar crashes can sent you hurling into mild

Sugar consumption is linked to depression --- a 2002 study from Baylor
College of Medicine, Houston, Texas showed a significant link between
sugar consumption and the annual rate of major depression in six
different countries. Sugar also causes sleep problems, which can
contribute to depression.

Fast Food

Eating hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and fried chicken is linked to
depression, according to a 2012 study by the University of Las Palmas
de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, Spain.

What's that, again? Yes, fast food can make you depressed.  People
who eat fast food are
51 percent more likely to develop depression
than people who eat none, according to the researchers.

Plus, the scientists discovered that the more fast food you eat, the
greater your depression risk. All the more reason to skip the drive-thru
for a home cooked meal.

The study did not tell us what exactly in fast food makes us depressed
--is it the saturated fat, the trans fat, or what? --- so more research is
needed. [
Fast foods may also increase your risk for sterility.]


It is common knowledge that alcohol causes depression. Or does it?
Results from a 2013 study by the University of Western Australia do
not support this idea. However, alcohol does not prevent depression,

Scientists stated that it is difficult to pinpoint a link between alcohol and
depression because people who are heavy drinkers also tend to have
poor diets or be heavy smokers – factors that may individually affect
the risk of depression.

Researchers collected data from over 3,000 men over three to eight
years of a long-running Health in Men Study (HIMS).

Sweetened Drinks

Drinking a lot of diet soda or fizzy sweetened drinks can cause
depression, according to a 2013 study from the University of Florida
College of Medicine.

Scientists evaluated the beverage consumption of 263,925 people
between 1995 and 1996 and asked, 10 years later, whether the
participants had received a diagnosis of depression.

People drinking more than four cans of soda – diet or regular – a day
were 30 percent more likely to have suffered from depression.

However, the diet versions of drinks like cola and iced tea were found
to be associated with a greater risk of depression than drinks
sweetened with regular sugar.

Trans Fats

A diet full of trans fats – found in pastries, pies, processed foods and
junk food – is a diet destined to bring you depression, according to

A 2011 study from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria shows
people who have a high proportion of trans fats in their diet have a 48
percent higher risk of suffering from depression than those who did
not eat much trans fat.

On the other hand, a diet rich in
olive oil and polyunsaturated fats was
seen to have a protective effect.  You are less likely to be depressed if
you follow a diet rich in olive oil such as the Mediterranean diet.

[ Update:

New research on olive oil has thrown some doubt as to its health
benefits independent of the Mediterranean diet. This research suggests
that most, if not all, of
olive oil's reputed health benefits are simply
because it is a part of a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and sea food.]

Potato Chips

You can’t resist a handful of potato chips when you’re watching the
game or feeling hungry between meals.

But potato chips could be doing more than increasing your waistline;
they could be setting you up for depression to strike.

To see why, you have to separate your "6's" from your "3's".  Potato
chips are fried in oil containing omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 is bad for
you because it overwhelms the good form of omega fatty acid --omega
3. Eating too much omega-6 tips the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 too
far in the "6" direction.

Higher blood serum levels of omega-6 fatty acids were linked to major
depressive episodes among pregnant Brazilian women in a 2014 study
from Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil.


You may think you’re doing your body a favor by eating fat-free foods
but these are often loaded with sodium to enhance their taste and keep
the freshness.

According to Oregon State Extension excess sodium contributes to fluid
retention and can cause neurological imbalances. Too much sodium is
also linked to chronic disease like high blood pressure and heart
disease, which can lead to depression.


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Men who eat fast food such as hamburgers, fries and hit dogs are 51% more likely to
become depressed.
cheeseburger and fries