Depressed French Fries

The Lempert Report
May 03, 2023

I happen to like french fries. I'm not a huge french fry consumer, but there's a new research study that came out that said that people the frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried potatoes, was linked with a 12% higher risk of anxiety and 7% higher risk of depression in people that don't eat fried foods. But there's a controversy about this study as well, right?

Sally: Yes. Well, when we look at this study, like you said there's a 12% higher risk of anxiety and a 7% higher risk of depression in people that are eating fried foods now. But that there's a 2% increase on top of that is risk of depression, when you're eating potatoes as opposed to fried meat. So that is one part of this study that we're looking at, but also we've seen such an increase in anxiety and depression over the last few years. In fact, the World Health Organization says that 5% of the global population, Phil, is depressed. That's a lot of people worldwide. And now we also hearing about these studies, over this chemical that occurs when you are frying carbohydrates. And that is acrimilide . And we have talked about this on for years, because this issue came up you know, I believe about a decade ago, maybe more. But this chemical occurs when you fry carbohydrates. It also occurs when you roast beans in coffee. So it can come up there. But this chemical has been linked to causing depression.

Phil: And it's been linked by a number of agencies. for example, EPA has said that acrimalide is a human carcinogen, that also leads to all these cancers that we're talking about. Dr. David Katz who's probably one of the smartest medical guys that I know, especially as it relates to nutrition, is saying that there's two ways to look at this. The human component may indicate that higher intake of fried food increases the risk of anxiety and depression, but he also says the other side, the causal pathway could be just as ready to go to the other way. People with anxiety and depression turn to comfort food with increasing frequency for some semblance of relief. So we've gotta look at both of them. Lots of caution about this study but certainly it raises the question that we need to find out whether or not acrimilide whether it is fried foods, does have an impact on depression.

Phil: And if we look at the stats from the American Psychological Association, depression is continuing to go up, especially in kids. And if we look at our, our kids and our teens, their incidents of french fries, are probably a lot more than our incidents of french fries. So it's definitely worth having some more work done and more studies done.