Eating fried foods, especially fried potatoes like French fries, may increase the risk of depression and anxiety, a study has found.

Researchers have studied the effects of fried foods on depression and anxiety. They found that regular consumption of fried foods is linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety in humans. Further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms underlying these effects. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders in the world.

Fried foods are an important part of the Western diet and their consumption is increasing worldwide. Previous studies have shown that the consumption of fried or processed foods, sugary products and beer is linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety. Research also shows that the frying process can alter the nutritional composition of foods and produce harmful chemicals. Frying carbohydrates such as potatoes, for example, generates acrylamide, which has been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome and neurological disorders.

So far, few studies have looked at how acrylamide can affect anxiety and depression. Further research on this link could inform public health policy and dietary interventions for mental health disorders. Recently, researchers have studied the link between the consumption of fried foods and depression and anxiety. They found that eating fried foods, especially fried potatoes, is linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression. They also found that acrylamide plays an important role in the development of anxiety and depression in adult zebrafish. The study was published in the journal PNAS.

Analysis of the effect of fried foods

To begin with, the researchers analyzed data from 140,728 people from the UK biobank. Data included fried food consumption and incidence of anxiety and depression over an average follow-up period of 11.3 years. At the end of the study period, the researchers identified 8,294 cases of anxiety and 12,735 cases of depression. Overall, they found that people who ate more than one serving of fried foods per day had a 12% higher risk of anxiety and a 7% higher risk of depression than non-consumers. Frequent consumers of fried foods were most often male, young, and active smokers.

The researchers then investigated the possible mechanisms of the link between fried foods and depression and anxiety. To do this, they observed how chronic acrylamide exposure affected zebrafish over time. They found that exposing fish to low levels of acrylamide induced behavior similar to anxiety and depression. Further tests revealed that acrylamide reduced lipid metabolism, induced neuroinflammation and compromised the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.

How fried foods are linked to depression and anxiety

Factors other than acrylamide may explain the effects of fried foods on mental health. For example, since the study did not establish a causal link, it may be that people who eat more fried foods have a higher risk of depression and anxiety or those who suffer from these conditions. are more likely to turn to fried foods. Alternatively, fried food consumption may be part of a larger picture, i.e. whether people ate sweet sauces with fried foods or ate more fried foods while doing certain activities that may have had other effects on the brain.

Study limitations

The main limitation of this study is that it is retrospective and does not control for many variables. In other words, many people were asked about their consumption of fried foods. People who consumed the most tended to have more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, they were also more likely to be less educated, to have more obesity and medical problems, and to have lower income levels. These other differences might be driving higher levels of depression and anxiety, not just fried food consumption.

To really prove causation, you would have to take a large group of very similar people and give half of them more fried foods. Half of the group would eat more fried foods and the other half less. If anxiety and depression are more common among people who eat a lot of fried foods, the proof is made.

Foods for better mental health

There are no specific foods that have been proven to treat or prevent depression or anxiety. However, the Mediterranean diet, which includes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains, is associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein than the “Western” diet. Since C-reactive protein is associated with inflammation, lower levels of C-reactive protein may favorably impact the development of depression, anxiety, and other conditions affected by inflammation” , she added.


The implications of this study are that high levels of consumption of fried foods, especially potatoes, lead to increased levels of acrylamides in the blood. High levels of this toxin cause distinctions in brain nerve cell function and (can) cause depression and anxiety. The results are more pronounced in young people. The take home message is that the consumption of fried foods such as french fries, hash browns, bacon and the like should be limited to rare occasions. Regular consumption could lead to increased anxiety and depression, as well as many other health problems.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.