– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Eating junk food can cause fat to seep into the brain and trigger depression, a new study has found.
The research, led by the University of Glasgow, suggested saturated fat actually enters the brain via the bloodstream.
It then affects the part of the brain that controls our emotions – the hypothalamus – and leads to an increase in depressive symptoms.
The findings claimed being obese is an additional factor causing depression, with a diet high in saturated fat to blame.
Researchers also believe that anti-depressants are less effective on obese people, and hope that the study may now change the way overweight and obese individuals are treated.
The study looked at mice fed a diet of up to 60 per cent saturated and unsaturated fats and found parts of the fat – saturated fatty acids – were actually entering the brain via the bloodstream.
Professor George Baillie, from the University of Glasgow, said that it confirms a healthier diet leads to a much healthier mind.
“We often use fatty food to comfort ourselves as it tastes really good, however in the long term, this is likely to affect one’s mood in a negative way. Of course, if you are feeling low, then to make yourself feel better you might treat yourself to more fatty foods, which then would consolidate negative feelings,” he explained.
However, he insisted that a better diet, and eating the right foods, may help those struggling with their mental health.
“We all know that a reduction in fatty food intake can lead to many health benefits, but our research suggests that it also promotes a happier disposition. Further to that, understanding the types of fats, such as palmitic acid, which are likely to enter the brain and affect key regions and signalling will give people more information about how their diet can potentially affect their mental health,” Professor Baillie added.