PEOPLE who regularly eat ultra-processed foods like Spanish chorizo are more likely to be depressed, new research has found.
According to the study involving 14,000 volunteers, consumers of ‘low nutritional quality’ products are 33% more at risk of the disease.
The work was published by Spain’s University of Navarra in the European Journal of Nutrition.
A total of 14,907 people who had never had depression were monitored for an average of 10 years during the project.
Among the test subjects, 774 new cases of clinically diagnosed depression were detected.
Those who consumed ultra-processed foods were a third more likely to suffer depression, with the risk heightened for those who had low levels of physical exercise.
Clara Gomez Donoso, a researcher at the university, said previous studies had found that, ‘ultra-processed food increased the risk of hypertension and obesity’.
She added: “These cardiometabolic conditions share pathophysiological mechanisms and risk factors with depression.”
The Nova classification identifies ultra-processed foods as industrially manufactured products, containing refined or synthesised ingredients, and that no longer resemble the original ingredients.
Refined ingredients include sugar, starch, vegetable oil and salt, and synthesised ingredients include trans fats, hydrolysed protein and additives.
Sweets, sausages, industrial pastries and breakfast cereals are among the worst offenders in Spain.
“They are characterised by low nutritional quality, convenience, availability and hyper-palatability,” added Clara Gomez.