Can French fries really cause depression? This is what some studies suggest, highlighting the potential dangers of fried foods for the mental health of those who consume them regularly.
The flip side of food abundance
Today, access to a wide variety of foods is easier than ever. However, this abundance has also revealed the risks associated with the consumption of fried foods. It has been shown that fried foods can lead to obesity or high blood pressure, among other health problems. “We are what we eat”, and what we eat affects our physical and mental health.
Chinese study reveals troubling links
A team of researchers in Hangzhou, China, has found that frequent consumption of fried foods, particularly French fries, is linked to a 12% increased risk of suffering from anxiety and a 7% increased risk of developing depression. Young men seem to be particularly affected by this phenomenon.
The mysterious acrylamide involved?
In another study, researchers suggest that acrylamide, a chemical that forms during frying, may be responsible for this increased risk of anxiety and depression. To explore this hypothesis, scientists exposed zebrafish to acrylamide, observing that long-term exposure to the substance made them more anxious.
Figures that cannot be ignored
The study followed 140,728 participants for over 11 years. After excluding those diagnosed with depression in the first two years, they identified 8,294 cases of anxiety and 12,735 cases of depression among those who regularly ate fried food.
The need to reduce our consumption of fried foods
Although the results are still preliminary, they highlight the importance of reducing fried food consumption for mental health. However, it is also possible that people with anxiety or depression are more likely to eat “comfort foods” to feel better.
A food awareness
According to Yu Zhang, one of the authors of the study, it's not about panicking about the harmful effects of fried foods, but about realizing the importance of a balanced diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means reducing our consumption of fried foods, as our minds are an integral part of our bodies.
Impact of unhealthy foods on mood
Low-nutrient foods and poor nutrition can negatively affect mood and worsen a mental health disorder, a previous study has shown. Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explains that “the health effects of fried foods will depend largely on the food being fried and the type of fat used for frying. Potatoes, in particular, are of concern for their potential effects on mood, as they can cause large fluctuations in blood sugar levels and associated hormonal responses.
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