A study by Chinese researchers found that the consumption of fried foods was tied to higher rates of depression and anxiety.
The team from Zhejiang University School of Medicine said that in its study of nearly 140,000 participants, those who consumed fried foods were 12% more likely to have anxiety and 7% more likely to have depression. The researchers noted this was particularly more prevalent among males and younger consumers.
The researchers said long-term exposure to acrylamide, a food-processing contaminant in fried foods, exacerbates anxiety and depression-like behaviors.
“Together, these results both epidemiologically and mechanistically provide strong evidence to unravel the mechanism of acrylamide-triggered anxiety and depression, and highlight the significance of reducing fried food consumption for mental health,” the researchers wrote.
The Zhejiang University School of Medicine study was published Monday in the journal PNAS.
The Food and Drug Administrationnotes that acrylamide can be found in foods that are cooked at higher temperatures, including items that are fried, baked or roasted. There has also been research indicating a connection between cancer and high doses of acrylamide among animals.
Additionally, there has long been a known physical health risk of consuming fried foods. A Harvard study found that people who consume fried food at least once a week are 28% more likely to experience heart problems. The study also found a 3% increase in risk for each 4-ounce serving of fried food.
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