Research has suggested that consuming fried foods, such as french fries, can have negative effects on mental health. While these foods can give a feeling of pleasure and stress relief after consumption, regular intake can lead to the opposite results.
According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, consuming fried foods like potatoes and chicken can increase the risk of anxiety and depression. A research team from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences collected and analyzed data from over 140,000 participants for approximately 11 years. The team observed a clear association between frequent consumption of fried foods, particularly french fries, and the risk of anxiety and depression.
The results of the study indicated that regular intake of fried foods increased the risk of anxiety by 12% and depression by 7% among the participants’ mental health. The correlation between fried foods and mental health was particularly noticeable among young adults and men. The research team concluded that reducing fried food consumption is important for mental health.
The researchers identified a substance called acrylamide as a potential cause for the association between fried foods and anxiety and depression. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, acrylamide can form in plant-based foods such as potatoes during high-temperature cooking methods like frying, roasting, and baking. Exposure to high doses of acrylamide in animals has been known to cause cancer, but its effects on humans have not been fully understood.
Some mental health professionals argue that the interpretation of the study’s results needs to be approached with caution. They suggest that people who consume more fried foods may do so for reasons unrelated to their mental health, such as stress relief. Furthermore, excessive consumption of fried foods can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other issues, which could indirectly affect mental health.
Health experts recommend that people prioritize vegetables over fried foods and use cornstarch or almond flour instead of refined flour, and olive oil instead of animal-based oil when frying foods, for both physical and mental health benefits.