Experts Say, Teens Who Eat Fast Food A Lot Have Higher Risk of Depression

What you eat may not be exactly what you’d think would cause depression but new research suggests otherwise especially in teens. Experts Say, Teens Who Eat Fast Food A Lot Have Higher Risk of Depression and It’s Worth Knowing About.


A study published in the journal Physiological Reports examined teens that ate high amounts of fast food, foods particularly high in sodium and low in potassium, and the rate of depression in those teens. 

“One understudied risk factor for depression is diet. In adults, unhealthy diet (e.g., consumption of highly processed foods, fast food and salty snacks) has been linked with current prevalence and greater incidence of depression over time in multiple large epidemiological studies (Francis and Stevenson, 2013; Sánchez?Villegas et al., 2015; Akbaraly et al., 2016). Moreover, several intervention studies using randomized clinical trial design found that consumption of a healthier diet led to greater reduction in depressive symptoms in adults”

Since that was concluded in adults, researchers wanted to see if there was a similar link with adolescents.

For the study, researchersrs looked at 84 middle-school students in urban Alabama. They compared self-reported depression symptoms with the teen’s sodium and potassium levels, measured by a urine test, over the course of a year and a half.

What they found was, much like studies found in adults, that teens that consumed more fast-food with an increase of sodium and decreased consumption of potassium, reported more depression symptoms. 

“Notably, higher sodium and lower potassium excretion predicted future depressive symptoms over and above current depressive symptoms and multiple potential confounders.” 

This means that teens that may be experiecing depression and symptoms of it, may be able to help by changing their diet by decreasing sodium and increasing their potassium intake. 

“Results suggest that reducing the consumption of sodium?rich foods, and increasing the consumption of potassium?rich foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) may help reduce the prevalence of depression in adolescents and its burden on public health.”

So, there you have it – less fast-food, less sodium and more potassium to keep our kiddos happy and healthy! I mean, it only makes sense but it is something at least worth knowing about!

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