Washington: Here's yet another reason why you should shun junk meals eating fast food can raise a person's risk of suffering from depression, according to a new study published in the 'Public Health Nutrition' journal.

Researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, have found that eating baked goods like cakes, croissants and doughnuts and fast food like burgers and pizza is linked to depression.

The findings revealed that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none are 51 per cent more likely to develop depression. "The more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression," said Almudena Sanchez- Villegas, who led the study.

The study demonstrates that those participants who eat the most fast food and commercial baked goods are more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week are other prevalent characteristics of this group.

With regard to the consumption of commercial baked goods, the results are equally conclusive. "Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression.

For their study, the researchers assessed 8,964 people for an average of six months, and 493 were diagnosed with depression or started to take antidepressants.

Sánchez-Villegas concluded that "although more studies are necessary, the intake of this type of food should be controlled because of its implications on both health (obesity, cardiovascular diseases) and mental well-being."