Be Careful! Ultra-Processed Foods Make You Feel More Depressed

By: MerxWire

Because of their busy lives, modern people often choose convenient processed foods to satisfy their hunger quickly. Over time, it can easily lead to nutrient deficiencies and potential health problems. A study by Deakin University in Australia found that in addition to affecting physical health, eating ultra-processed foods also increases the risk of depression.

Ultra-processed foods with artificial additives on the market contain almost no natural nutrients.
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TAIPEI, TAIWAN (Merxwire) – Modern people often miss normal eating time because of their busy lives or choose convenient processed foods to fill their stomachs quickly. Eating out for a long time can easily lead to an uneven diet. When stressed, they may eat a big meal to vent their stress after getting off work or on holiday, thus causing potential health problems. Research from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, found that eating ultra-processed food not only affects health but also increases the risk of depression.

This study mainly explores the importance of high-quality food for brain health and calls on the food industry to change its current practices of excessive processing or additives. Studies have mentioned that ultra-processed foods can affect brain and intestinal health. If eating habits are not adjusted, the risk of major diseases such as heart disease and diabetes will increase, and it will also cause psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.

Which foods are ultra-processed? In the global NOVA food classification system, ultra-processed food refers to foods that do not use commonly used natural ingredients, but add industrialized food formulas such as artificial sweeteners, fats, emulsifiers, and trans fats to make their taste, texture, and appearance like real food. And these foods contain almost no natural nutrients.

Common ultra-processed foods include carbonated drinks, energy drinks, heat-and-eat meals, snacks, potato chips, cans, hot dogs, cereals, factory-produced bread and pasta, and a variety of frozen foods such as burgers and pizzas that can be found everywhere in supermarkets and all around us in our lives.

Research has found that ultra-processed foods can interfere with physiological mechanisms, reduce the brain’s adaptability, and put the body in a state of inflammation, thereby affecting the immune system. These foods can also stimulate oxidation reactions in the body, cause cell aging, and increase the risk of cancer. The most serious thing is that it will reduce the number of intestinal microflora and damage the gut-brain axis, causing communication problems between the digestive tract and the central nervous system. This would affect the emotional health of children, worsen depression in the elderly, and cause cognitive decline. It also worsens immune, metabolic, and cancer problems.

Ultra-processed foods affect brain and gut health, increasing the risk of cancer and depression.
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Melissa Lane, who works at Deakin’s Food and Mood Center and is the lead author of the paper, mentioned that when our diet contains more than 30% ultra-processed foods, the risk of depression will increase. It can be said that the 30% ratio is an important threshold. Even if we eat more fruits and vegetables, we cannot offset the emotional problems such as depression and anxiety caused by these ultra-processed foods, as well as the risk of depression.

For busy modern people, these ultra-processed foods are convenient, affordable, and come with attractive packaging and promotions that attract many people to buy them. According to statistics from 28 countries around the world, the average person consumes 17% to 56% of ultra-processed foods every day. The fats, sugars, pigments, and other artificial additives contained in them affect our physical and mental health and become the main causes of type 2 diabetes and obesity. It also consumes our brain capital, including innovation, learning ability, intelligence, and mental health, which are all threatened.

In a modern society, it is inevitable to choose convenient and instant foods to save time, but remember to pay attention to the proportion of ultra-processed food and never overeat. Only by increasing the proportion of natural foods can we supplement the nutrients needed by the body and maintain physical and mental health. As long as we take good care of our brains and guts, we can maintain clear thinking, reduce emotional problems, and keep depression away from us.

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