Eating too many fried snacks could make you depressed | Sunday Observer

Eating too many fried snacks could make you depressed

30 April, 2023

Eating too many chips and fry-ups could make you anxious or depressed, a study suggests.

Researchers looked at more than 140,000 people in the UK, who filled out a questionnaire on what they had eaten in the previous 24 hours, up to four times.

These people were followed up for an average of 11 years to see if they showed symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Those who said they ate at least one portion of fried food, suggesting this was a typical part of their diet, were 12 per cent more likely to have anxiety than those who ate no fried food.

They were seven percent more likely to show signs of depression.

Experts suspect acrylamide - the chemical substance formed when starchy foods, such as potatoes, are fried and baked at high temperatures - may be linked to inflammation in the brain.

Fried potatoes, including chips, and fried white meat, such as chicken, were significantly linked with anxiety.

The study, led by Zhejiang University in China, concludes that its results ‘highlight the significance of reducing fried food consumption for mental health’.

The authors note: ‘Diet has recently been linked with the risk of developing depression and anxiety.

‘A Western diet of fried or processed foods, refined grains, sugary products, and beer is associated with a higher risk of depression and anxiety.

‘Typically, fried foods are major part of the Western diet, and the consumption of fried foods increases worldwide, especially during the Covid outbreak.’

Men and younger people are more likely to frequently eat fried food, the study found.

The link between the food and depression and anxiety was found most strongly in men and those below the age of 60.

Researchers looked at middle-aged people from the UK Biobank study, who were asked to fill out questionnaires on their dietary habits and mental state.

The results separate out both fried white meat, like chicken, and fried potatoes, which would include fries and chips.

People who reported eating at least one portion of either fried potatoes or fried white meat in the food questionnaire had a four per cent higher risk of having symptoms of anxiety.

Fried potatoes, like chips, were linked to a smaller two percent higher risk of depression.

The study exposed zebrafish to acrylamide to try to understand the effect this chemical may have in people who eat fried food.

The fish showed behaviour similar to anxiety and depression, such as avoiding others more often and being less exploratory.

Acrylamide, also found in burnt toast, has previously been linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease.

The animal experiments provide evidence that the chemical may affect how the body regulates.

- Daily