Fried Food Consumption Linked To Increased Anxiety And Depression Risk

Study finds that consuming fried foods, especially fried potatoes, is associated with a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression

Consuming fried foods, particularly fried potatoes, could be linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression, according to a study that delved into the mental health implications of the Western diet.

The research, published in the journal PNAS, discovered a concerning association between the high consumption of fried foods and the onset of these mental health disorders. This finding was based on the data analysis of 140,728 individuals from the UK Biobank, with an 11.3-year average follow-up period. By the study’s conclusion, 8,294 cases of anxiety and 12,735 cases of depression had been identified.

The study revealed that individuals consuming more than one serving of fried food daily had a 12% higher risk of developing anxiety and a 7% higher risk of depresion compared to those who refrain. Notably, the frequent consumers of fried food were predominantly younger males and active smokers.

The researchers posited that the harmful chemical acrylamide, generated when frying carbohydrates like potatoes, could play a significant role in this observed connection. To test this theory, they subjected zebrafish to chronic exposure of low concentrations of acrylamide. The results revealed that such exposure induced anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors in the fish, alongside reducing lipid metabolism, inducing neuroinflammation, and impairing the blood-brain barrier’s permeability.

However, experts not involvd in the study cautioned that these finding do not definitively prove causation. The study’s retrospective nature and the multitude of uncontroled variables leave room for other explanations. For instance, individuals more prone to anxiety and depression may be more likely to consume fried foods or vice versa.

While there is no definitive dietory solution to prevent or treat anxiety and depression, health professionals often recommend the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grain. This diet is associated with lower levels of C reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, which may in turn have a positive impact on mental health.

Written by Muhammad Qasim