increases blood pressure and causes depression

Researchers from China found that frequent consumption of French fries was associated with a 12 percent risk of higher risk of anxiety disorders and 7 percent. higher risk of depression compared to people who do not eat such foods.

This relationship was more pronounced among men and young people.

Food fried in oil is already known to increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and other health problems. A study published in the journal PNAS suggests that limiting fried foods can improve a person’s mental health.

However, nutrition experts stressed that these results are preliminary: it is not entirely clear whether fried foods actually cause mental health problems, or whether people who experience symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders simply consume more of these foods.

The study was carried out for more than 11 years, during which time 140,728 individuals were examined. After excluding participants diagnosed with depression during the first two years of the study, a total of 8,294 cases of anxiety disorders and 12,735 cases of depression were identified among individuals who ate fried foods.

People who ate fried potatoes were more likely to be depressed than those who liked meat prepared in the same way.

The study also found that younger men were more likely to eat more than one serving of fried food.

“The human component of this study can only show what it was intended to do: that higher consumption of fried foods increases the risk of anxiety disorders and depression,” said Dr. David Katz, a lifestyle medicine specialist who was not involved in the study.

“However, there may be another reason: People with anxiety disorders or depression are more likely to choose higher-fat foods in search of at least some relief,” added Katz, founder of the nonprofit True Health Initiative.

People with symptoms of anxiety and depression can begin to “medicate” themselves with pleasurable foods, he said.

Junk food and poor nutrition can worsen a person’s mood and mental health, a previous study found.

Experiments with fish

Acrylamide, a chemical produced when food is fried in oil and found in high levels in french fries, is the culprit behind an increased risk of anxiety and depression, researchers say in a new study.

In a separate study cited in the new paper, researchers exposed zebrafish to the substance and found that long-term exposure to acrylamide caused the fish to settle in dark areas of the aquarium, a common sign of increased fish anxiety.

Zebrafish also stopped exploring their aquariums and socializing with other fish – although it is common for the species to form large schools, the fish the researchers observed stopped swimming side by side.

“Zebra Danes were probably chosen because they were already known to be particularly sensitive to acrylamide. Because of this, their tendency to worry is well-established and consistent, making them a good source of biological and behavioral data,” Katz said.

Dr. Walter Willett said the results of this study: “Should be seen as very preliminary, especially with regard to the association with foods cooked in oil and acrylamide.”

“The health effects of fried food will greatly depend on what kind of food is fried and what kind of fat is used,” explained W. Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard University. -Potatoes raise concerns about their potential mood effects: they can spike blood sugar levels, and such spikes later lead to hormonal responses. However, these changes are partially limited by the fat that is used in cooking.”

W. Willett also noted that acrylamide is not only released during baking. It can be found in coffee, because the beans are roasted, and in toasted bread, because this substance is released “when carbohydrates are heated together with proteins.”

He also clarified that the data on zebra danes “is difficult to interpret in terms of human health, because obviously we are quite different. This is recognized by the authors of the study themselves.”

Anxiety disorders and depression are on the rise

Yu Zhang, a researcher at Zhejiang University in China and the author of the study, said: “There is no need to panic about the negative effects of food cooked in oil.” However, a healthy lifestyle and the restriction of fried food can be beneficial not only for physical, but also for mental health.

Researchers have pointed to a recent increase in the number of cases of depression and anxiety worldwide – in 2020. they increased by 27.6 percent, respectively. and 25.6 percent The World Health Organization also estimates that more than 5 percent of adults worldwide suffer from depression. This fact is also noted in the study.

In a study of the effects of fried food consumption in humans and acrylamide in zebrafish, researchers compared the two factors and found that frequent consumption of the chemical found in fried foods can have a negative impact on mental health.

According to D. Katz, a person’s well-being is also harmed by the lack of food variety.

“Overall nutritional quality and healthy food choices are critical to every aspect of health, both mental and physical,” Katz said.

Willett said there is also the possibility of reverse causation, where people may change their diet because of depression or anxiety. “These mood swings are much more difficult to study because they can come and go, unlike a cancer or heart attack diagnosis. This study was not designed to avoid such challenges,” the expert testified.

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