2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

The Sadness of Happy Meals

Posted 2/9/2010

Remember poor Morgan Spurlock, eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month in his documentary Super Size Me? As meal followed meal, lubricated with gallons of Big Gulps, he became fatter, his liver turned to a greasy mush, and he felt simply terrible. If you listened carefully to the voiceover, he also sounded fatigued…and depressed.

Now researchers reporting in the British Journal of Psychiatry confirm what many clinical nutritionists have known all along–that a diet of junk food can indeed trigger clinical depression. Scientists tracked the eating habits of 3,500 middle aged public servants (a decidedly British categorization) for five years, splitting them into two groups: those who ate primarily a junk-food/fast-food diet (processed foods, high in fat, refined carbs, and sugar) and those who ate reasonably close to a whole-food diet (high in fruit, veggies, fish, and whole grains).

The results of the study are enough to make you think twice before stifling your hunger pangs with any of the dozens of junky menu items that many Americans eat every single day of their lives.

Junk-food eaters had a 58% higher risk of depression, while the depression risk for whole-foods eaters was 26% lower.
That’s an impressive spread.

The physiology behind this goes back to the brain chemical serotonin, your factory installed stress-buffering system and the second whammy I wrote about in The Triple Whammy Cure (the other two being stress itself and hormones).

In order for your body to make feel-good serotonin, you need a steady supply of good quality protein. Why? When protein is digested, it breaks down into amino acids, one of which is tryptophan. Your body then converts tryptophan into serotonin.

In an earlier study, people deliberately placed on a low-tryptophan diet developed depression, which reversed itself when tryptophan was reintroduced.

A fast food diet, decidedly high in fats but low in high-quality protein (such as fish, eggs, and lean meats, but also beans, rice, corn, and wheat), will grind serotonin production to a halt. Life stresses will occur, as they always do, but with no adequate stress buffer, you’ll feel anxious, depressed, tired, and generally miserable. One of the stressors is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), also a consequence of eating junky food with scant nutritional value.

This mess soon spins out of control, your brain becomes desperate for a quick fix, and as a result you make a serious judgment error. You start craving more junk foods for the quick carb/sugar high. You gain weight and become even more depressed.

You don’t have to pull a Morgan Spurlock and try this fast-food diet on yourself. Just go into any McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, or Pizza Hut–any of them. Buy a bottle of water and just sit where you can watch people walk in. Direct your attention to the body shapes, complexions, and facial expressions of the adults. Note the kids may have little pot bellies and double chins, but anticipating free toys may look cheerful. Sit there long enough and you’ll want to start screaming, “Save yourselves! Get out of here before it’s too late!”

Remember you’re just there to observe. Finish your water, get thee to the grocery, go home, and cook up a nice pot of the minestrone soup we’re featuring as today’s healthy recipe. Pack the leftovers for future lunches. You’ll be healthier and happier as a result.

Leave a Comment


  1. rogers says:

    You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • Remote House Calls: Healing Touch and Shamanic Healing

    In these days of distancing, more clients are connecting with me via phone or Skype for remote sessions. Even before the pandemic, some clients who had the option of seeing me in person opted for remote sessions. They’ve reported that it’s beneficial to be able to connect with me from the comfort of their own homes. Let’s look at the healing techniques I use: —Healing Read More

  • We Are Fighting For Our Lives: Covid-19 Update

    This Health Tip might contain more about Covid-19 than you’ve read online or heard on a news program. It might even be more than you really care to know. Obviously we Americans we have some real challenges, far greater than many countries smaller and less “powerful” than the US. We’re running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our healthcare workers and first responders. There Read More

  • DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

    Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis. Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm. ALLERGIES • Runny nose • Sneezing • Red, swollen eyes • Itchy eyes and nose • Tickly throat • No fever COLD • Runny nose • Sneezing • Sore throat • Mild muscle aches • Mild dry cough Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!