By | Emily Lockhart | www.activebeat.com
Most people opt for fast food for three simple reasons—it’s quick, it tastes good, and the cost is relatively low. These choices are often made despite the negative effects that a diet rich in fast food has on our physical health (i.e., excess fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium), which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight gain. However, in addition to the well-known physical consequences—fast food has several lesser-known and detrimental impacts on our brain and mental health as well…
1. Fast Food Linked to Depression and Addiction
Canadian researchers from the University of Montreal, in Quebec, found that consuming diets high in sugar and fat increased the rate of depression. When study researchers fed mice a diet high in fat (58-percent calories from fat) and sugar over a 6-week period, they found that the rodents showed signs of increased depression and increased anxiety once fatty foods were taken away.
These mice were compared to mice fed a low fat, lean diet (with only 11-percent calories from fat). The scientists concluded that consuming a diet high in fat and sugar altered the chemical activity in the brain—specifically levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone) and CREB (a dopamine-functioning protein that causes addictive feelings and behaviors) significantly increased and created a poor cycle of eating.
2. Hyperactivity and Anxiety
The jury is still deliberating on sugar and it’s influence on anxiety and hyperactivity. However, a study published in the journal, Clinical Pediatrics, established that feeding children foods high in preservatives and artificial colors and preservatives (i.e., sodium benzoate) raises the risk of clinical hyperactivity.