Are you a fan of french fries? A recent study suggests that this beloved snack may have a negative impact on your mental health. According to a report from CNN on April 24, a research team from Hangzhou, China, found that consuming fried foods regularly could increase the risk of depression and anxiety.
The team’s study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), showed that individuals who frequently consumed fried foods were 7% more likely to develop depression than those who didn’t. They were also 12% more likely to develop anxiety. Interestingly, the risk of depression was found to be 2% higher for those who ate french fries specifically, compared to those who ate other fried foods like fried meat.
The study observed a whopping 147,280 participants over an 11-year period, and the research team concluded that “reducing the consumption of fried foods is important for maintaining good mental health.” The researchers also noted that young men were more likely to consume fried foods more frequently and in larger quantities than other groups.
CNN also cited another study that highlighted the chemical compound acrylamide, which is produced during the frying process of potatoes, and its potential negative impact on mental health. Acrylamide has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a probable human carcinogen, and it is known to be created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures.
While the findings of this study are certainly concerning, some experts caution that the relationship between fried foods and mental health is not yet fully understood. It is unclear whether consuming fried foods directly leads to depression and anxiety or whether individuals who are already struggling with mental health issues are more likely to turn to fried foods as “comfort food.” Dr. David Katz, the founder of the nonprofit organization True Health Initiative, pointed out that “people who are anxious or depressed seek comfort food more frequently to alleviate their symptoms, so the causal pathway may be in the opposite direction.”
Regardless, this study is a reminder that our diet can have a significant impact on our overall health, including our mental well-being. As we continue to learn more about the effects of fried foods on our bodies and minds, it may be worth considering reducing our consumption of these tasty but potentially harmful treats.