Fried Foods Linked to Depression, Anxiety
We all know that choosing a healthy diet has numerous benefits for our physical health, but did you know that it can also significantly impact our mental well-being?
A recent study suggests that consuming fried food regularly increases the risk of anxiety and depression. The study analyzed the eating habits of 140,728 people over more than 11 years. The researchers discovered 8,294 cases of anxiety and 12,735 cases of depression in people who ate fried foods.
The findings suggest that people who regularly ate fried foods—mainly fried potatoes like French fries—had a 12% higher risk of anxiety and a 7% higher risk of depression when compared to people who didn’t eat fried foods.
The theory behind these findings is that acrylamide, a chemical formed during the frying process, is to blame for the higher risk of anxiety and depression. The study’s authors believe that the chemical leads to higher levels of inflammation in the brain that can negatively impact mental health outcomes.
In a separate paper referenced in the new study, zebrafish exposed to acrylamide displayed behaviors consistent with higher anxiety levels in fish, like dwelling in dark zones of the tank and reduced socialization.
But this hypothesis is preliminary and will require much more research when it comes to humans.
While the study establishes a link between dietary choices and mental health outcomes, researchers suggest that the link could be reverse causation. Meaning, that people with higher levels of anxiety and depression may turn to comfort foods more often than those without these conditions.
Previous research has indicated that dietary choices impact physical health outcomes. This study emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet when it comes to our mental and emotional health, too.