people who drink fried food very often they may be more likely to experience anxiety symptoms the one of depressionas discovered by a group of food scientists from Zhejiang University, in China, who analyzed data from 140,728 individuals and verified that these symptoms increased between 7% and 12% in those individuals who claimed to have consumed this type of food and that increased risk appeared to be associated with eating French fries. The findings have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers have explained that previous studies had found a relationship between the type of western diet and the mental health problems and they decided to find out if at least part of this evidence could be attributed to the habitual consumption of chips. To do this, they compared the rates of anxiety and depression with dietary patterns that include frequent consumption of fried foods.
Acrylamide, a contaminant present in fried foods
Investigating the reasons why eating fried foods could increase the chances of mental disorders, they found that continued exposure to acrylamide –a toxic substance that is generated when food is fried– induces anxious and depressive behaviors “through neuroinflammation mediated by oxidative stress”.
These scientists tested the effects of acrylamide in zebrafish and found that their interest in exploring new territories decreased and that their sociability also decreased, signs of scototaxis and thigmotaxis, which are fish behaviors that are considered similar to anxiety and depression in humans. They also found that acrylamide consumption reduced the expression of tjp2a, which has been found to be involved in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.
The researchers have warned, however, that further research is necessary to confirm whether frequent consumption of fried foods can negatively affect mental health because they admit that it is possible that the people who participated in the study ate more fried foods precisely because they suffered from anxiety. or depression.