How Fast Food Is Linked To Mental Health

We tend not to think too much of fast foot – it’s a quick, easy, and cheap source of food that we can grab when we’re pressured for time, along with the fact that most fast food is pretty tasty.

But the idea behind making food as fast as possible means that a lot of corners have been cut in terms of overall nutrition of the food, and much of the fast food that we buy today is not exactly good for the human body.

What many people don’t realise, however, is the mental health issues that can arise from consuming fast food as a large part of the diet – and with the average American eating 2.4 burgers a day, it’s quickly turning into a big problem.

Depression and Fast Food

A number of studies have shown that fast food is linked to the increasing levels of depression that can be found throughout much of the developed world, and a factor of this is the fats that much of today’s convenience foods consist of. Trans fats are extremely common in fast foods and have been shown to both cause and worsen depression, along with clogging arteries.

The healthy fats that we are meant to consume, such as Omega 3 and 6, are not common in foods like McDonald’s and KFC, and can lead to poor physical and mental health. For those suffering from depression, it’s a good idea to try and limit the amount of fatty foods taken in on a regular basis, or even stopping altogether for a limit time to allow the body to reach homeostasis.


Fast food is high in refined carbohydrates, and when eaten by the body, it can causes major fluctuation in our blood sugars, leading to feelings of being extremely alert for short periods of time before crashing down and not being able to regain those energy levels until similarly sugary foods are ingested, creating an unhealthy cycle.

On top of this, these kinds of foods tend to lack the healthy fats that our bodies need, such as Omega 3, and without that in our system we suffer from mental issues such as severe anxiety.

Hyperactivity and ADHD

The preservatives and additives that are added to modern foods have been proven to cause hyperactivity in both children and adults, and has been linked to increased cases of ADHD, especially in developed countries where school lunches are becoming less healthy by the year.

A study done on additives such as sodium benzoate – a substance that can be found in almost all shelf products, not just fast food – shows that it can lead to hyperactivity, which might be great for gaming, but can be a burden at work. On top of this, many fast foods are packed to the brim with sugar, leading to blood sugar highs and lows.

What Should Be Done

While many fast food franchises have made an effort to cut down on the amount of sugar, preservatives, and artificial additives added, it’s important that we as individuals try and eat fast food as a treat every now and again, rather than as part of our daily diet.