Consuming fried foods linked to anxiety and depression: Study
Fried foods, which are already known to be harmful to physical health, can also negatively impact your mental health, according to a new study.
The study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed data on mental health and eating patterns from 140,728 people collected over more than 11 years.
Overall, the researchers discovered that people who regularly ate fried foods—particularly 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.
People who ate fried potatoes also had a 2% higher risk of depression than those who ate fried white meat, like fried chicken.
The researchers theorized that acrylamide, which is a chemical that’s formed during frying, is responsible for the higher risk of anxiety and depression.
“These results both epidemiologically and mechanistically provide strong evidence to unravel the mechanism of acrylamide-triggered anxiety and depression, and highlight the significance of reducing fried food consumption for mental health,” the researchers wrote.
A separate study published in December identified a link between daily consumption of ultra-processed foods and cognitive decline among adults.
It’s important to point out that the study’s researchers didn’t prove that eating fried foods actually caused anxiety and depression. Instead, they merely found a link between eating fried foods and an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
They also didn’t determine whether people were more likely to develop anxiety and depression from eating fried foods, or if they ate fried foods—which are notorious comfort foods—because they felt anxious and depressed.