A team of food scientists at Zhejiang University in China has identified a possible link between frequent consumption of fried foods and increased levels of anxiety and depression in consumers.
This link was found through an analysis of patient data for 140,728 individuals.
Previous research has established links between western dietary patterns and mental health issues.
The team from Zhejiang University suspected that frequent consumption of fried foods could contribute to the problem.
In their study, they compared rates of reported anxiety and depression with accounts of eating behaviors that include frequent consumption of fried foods.
The researchers discovered that those who reported consuming a lot of fried foods were more likely to be diagnosed with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
They found that symptoms increased by between 7% and 12% in people who reported eating such foods, with the greatest risk associated with eating fried potatoes in the form of French fries.
The team then sought to explore why eating such foods might increase the chances of mental health issues.
They isolated acrylamide, which is an organic crystalline compound that is soluble in water and is formed as a result of food processing, specifically frying.
To test the impact of acrylamide, the researchers experimented on zebrafish and found that it reduced their eagerness to explore new territory and reduced their sociability.
Both these signs are associated with scototaxis and thigmotaxis, which are fish behaviors believed to be similar to anxiety and depression in humans.
They also found that consumption of acrylamide downregulated the expression of tjp2a, which is known to play a role in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.
The team is convinced that more work is required to prove conclusively that frequent consumption of fried foods leads to mental health issues.
But they acknowledge that it is possible that people in the data group they studied were consuming more fried foods because they were already suffering from anxiety or depression.
This research has implications for individuals who frequently consume fried foods.
While more research is needed to confirm the link between fried foods and mental health issues, this study should encourage people to consider reducing their consumption of fried foods as a potential way to improve their overall well-being.
Instead of fried foods, people can choose healthier alternatives such as roasted or baked foods, which can provide similar tastes and textures without negative health implications.
In addition, they can also increase their intake of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which are known to support physical and mental health.
In conclusion, this study offers valuable insight into the potential link between frequent consumption of fried foods and mental health issues.
While more research is needed, this study should encourage people to consider making healthier dietary choices to support their overall well-being.
If you care about depression, please read studies about how dairy foods may influence depression risk, and B vitamins could help prevent depression and anxiety.
For more information about mental health, please see recent studies that ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed, and extra-virgin olive oil could reduce depression symptoms.
The study was conducted by Anli Wang et al and published in PNAS.
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