Fried food consumption has been a growing concern for its potential negative impact on mental health, particularly on anxiety and depression. The association between these factors has been a crucial knowledge gap in the field, which a new study published in April this year aims to address. The study revealed that frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried potatoes, is strongly associated with a 12% and 7% higher risk of anxiety and depression, respectively. This correlation was found to be more significant among younger individuals and males.
Acrylamide, a representative contaminant in fried foods, has been identified as a toxicological mode of action. The study demonstrated that long-term exposure to acrylamide induces anxiety and depressive like behaviors via oxidative stress-mediated neuroinflammation. The underlying mechanism was further elucidated, showing that the PPAR signaling pathway mediates acrylamide-induced lipid metabolism disorder in the brain.
Multiomics analysis revealed that chronic exposure to acrylamide disturbs cerebral lipid metabolism and promotes neuroinflammation. Acrylamide dysregulates sphingolipid and phospholipid metabolism, which are critical in the development of anxiety and depression symptoms. Furthermore, acrylamide induces lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress, which participate in cerebral neuroinflammation.
These findings highlight the significance of reducing fried food consumption for mental health. They also shed light on the unfavorable link between Western dietary patterns and mental health. Overall, this study provides both epidemiological and mechanistic evidence to understand the mechanism of acrylamide-triggered anxiety and depression.