Eating too many hot chips and fry-ups could make you anxious or depressed, a study suggests.
Researchers studied more than 140,000 people in the UK who filled out questionnaires on what they had eaten in the previous 24 hours.
These people were monitored for 11 years to see if they showed symptoms of anxiety or depression. Those who said they ate at least one portion of fried food were 12 per cent more likely to have anxiety than those who did not. They were also 7 per cent more likely to show signs of depression.
Experts suspect acrylamide —the chemical substance formed when starchy foods, such as potatoes, are fried and baked at high temperatures — may be linked to inflammation in the brain.
Fried potatoes, including chips, and fried white meat, such as chicken, were significantly linked with anxiety.
The study, led by Zhejiang University in China, concludes that its results “highlight the significance of reducing fried food consumption for mental health”.
The authors note: “A Western diet of fried or processed foods, refined grains,sugary products, and beer is associated with a higher risk of depression and anxiety.”
The link between food and depression and anxiety was found most strongly in men and those under 60.
Researchers looked at middle-aged people from the UK Biobank study who were asked to fill out questionnaires on their dietary habits and mental state.
Individuals who reported eating at least one portion of fried potatoes or fried white meat had a 4 per cent higher risk of anxiety. Fried potatoes were linked to a 2 per cent higher risk of depression.
The study found evidence that acrylamide may affect how the body regulates cholesterol, which could be linked to anxiety and depression.
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