The Checkup: Depressed? Lay Off the Burgers and Cupcakes

Fast food and sweets are linked to higher rates of depression, according to a new study.

• I probably don’t need to pile on more reasons why you should lay off fast food and sweets, but here’s a new one, anyway: A study led by researchers in Spain found that those who pound Quarter Pounders and cupcakes are more likely to develop depression than those who lay off them. They followed 9,000 subjects for several years, none of whom had been diagnosed with depression at the outset. But by the end of the study, 500 were receiving treatment for the disorder. The common link? Junk food: the more hamburgers, pizza, muffins and croissants a person reported eating, the greater the risk of depression. But here’s the rub (and the researchers say as much)—the correlation could go the other way, too: the more depressed you are, the more junk food you eat. So while you shouldn’t jump to a causal link here between junk food and depression, note the fact of the correlation. As one of the study authors says, “The intake of this type of food should be controlled because of its implications on both health (obesity, cardiovascular diseases) and mental well-being.”

• Well, it’s official: drivers in Pennsylvania are now required by law to give at least four feet of clearance when passing bicyclists on the road. I’m not entirely sure why this wasn’t officially codified before, but there you have it. Now, will this measure actually make the streets safer for everyone? You tell me. (I’m thinking, probably not.)

• Why is a good veggie burger so hard to find? A Washington Post reporter asked himself that very question and set out on a quest to find good ones—then replicate them at home. And I’m happy he did. I can’t wait to try the barbecue sauce-laced veggie burger he posted about here.