Junk food (term used for the first time in 1972 by M. Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington) that is junk food , indicates a category of food considered unhealthy for humans, as characterized from a low nutritional value and a high energy intake, lipids, cholesterol and carbohydrates. Related to this type of food we find hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, soft drinks.
The junk foods are therefore a perfect combination of salt, sugar and fats in order to create the hyper-palatability, a new, amplified sense of taste, which excites the brain.
Numerous studies show that eating junk food can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and increased depression .
This is demonstrated by a study carried out by a team of scholars from the University of Montreal and subsequently published in the International Journal of Obesity.
The aforementioned study, led by Stephanie Fulton, in fact pointed out that junk food modifies the brain to such an extent that stopping eating can trigger depressive symptoms as a diet based on junk food affects some brain circuits and precisely those related to the reward mechanism. .
Furthermore, as pointed out by S. Fulton, changing nutrition causes withdrawal symptoms and a greater sensitivity to stressful situations because the consumption of junk food alters the levels of the molecules associated with depression. This phenomenon creates a vicious circle of incorrect nutrition.
The study was conducted on two groups of mice. The first group was given high-fat foods for six weeks, while the second group of mice was given a more balanced diet.
After six weeks the mice of the first group were not only fattened, but also showed a greater activation of CREB, a protein known to have an active importance in the production of dopamine , which is the basis of reward mechanisms.
Increasing the calories in the diet also increases dopamine. Furthermore, in this group of mice, the researchers also found an increase in the levels of corticosterone, a hormone associated with stress.
Indeed, research shows that after six weeks these mice exhibited anxious behaviors and were more sensitive to stress . When junk food was removed from mice, the characteristics described above were accentuated to the point of leading to depression .