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Beware! Your Go-To French Fries May Linked to Anxiety and Depression, New Research Suggests

French fries are a beloved comfort food for many. These soft-on-the-inside and crispy-on-the-outside potato fingers are commonly served as a side dish to main dishes like burgers, tacos and pastas. Usually no fast food meal is complete without a serving of fries. However, there is bad news for French fries lovers. A research team in Hangzhou, China, found that frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried potatoes, was linked with a 12% higher risk of anxiety and 7% higher risk of depression, in comparison to people who didn’t eat fried foods.
Fried foods are known risk factors for obesity, high blood pressure and other health effects. These results “open an avenue in the significance of reducing fried food consumption for mental health,” according to the paper published in the journal PNAS.
The study evaluated 140,728 people over 11.3 years. After excluding participants diagnosed with depression within the first two years, a total of 8,294 cases of anxiety and 12,735 cases of depression were found in those that consumed fried food. Specifically, fried potatoes were found to have a 2% increase in risk of depression over fried white meat. The study also found that the participants consuming more than one serving of fried food regularly were more likely to be younger men.
“The health effects of fried food will depend greatly on what food is fried and what type of fat is used for frying,” Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told CNN via email. “Potatoes are a concern for possible effects of mood because they can cause large surges in blood sugar and then hormonal responses to these surges. However, these surges are partly blunted by fat, which would be provided by the fat from frying.”
Experts who study nutrition said the results of this latest research are preliminary. It’s not clear whether the fried foods were driving mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, or people experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety turned to fried foods as a way of eating comfort foods. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Security, total potato consumption of boiled and fried potatoes had no association with depression, anxiety, as well as stress.
It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle to reduce your overall risk of developing mental health problems. The researchers noted that there has been a recent rise in depression and anxiety worldwide, with 2020 seeing an increase of 27.6% and 25.6%, respectively. When it comes to your diet, it is recommended to eat wholesome foods that are rich in nutrients.

Source : The Times of India