Fried foods have never been included in a healthy diet, and a new study finds daily consumption is associated with a “higher risk of all cause and cardiovascular mortality” in U.S. women.
Previous studies have found a link between eating fried foods and an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, uncovering that up to a third of North American adults eat fast food every day.
The new study examined the link between fried food and the risk of death from any cause, but in particular heart disease and cancer. Researchers followed the eating habits of 107,000 postmenopausal women in the United States ages 50 to 79 who enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative between 1993 and 1998. There was a follow-up with the women in February 2017.
"We know fried food consumption is something very common in the United States and also around the world. Unfortunately, we know very little about long-term health effect of fried food consumption," explained the study's lead author, Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, according to CNN.
Researchers examined the women’s total consumption of fried chicken, fried fish/shellfish and other fried foods.
They found that regularly eating fried foods increased the risk of death from any cause, specifically heart-related reasons. Women who ate one or more servings of fried food a day had an 8 percent higher risk compared to those who ate no fried food.
The greatest increase was seen in the consumption of fried chicken. One or more servings a day was associated with a 13 percent higher risk of death from any cause, and a 12 percent higher risk of heart-related death.
Think fish is better? Somewhat, but not by much. One or more servings of fish/shellfish each day raised the risk by 7 percent for death by any cause and 13 percent for heart-related death.
The researchers found no link between fried foods and cancer-related deaths, however.
“Reducing the consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, could have a clinically meaningful effect across the public health spectrum,” the study concludes.
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