According to Spanish researchers, regularly eating fried food doesn’t cause heart attacks, as long as olive oil or sunflower oil is using in the cooking. Their study said that there is mounting research which states that it is the type of oil, and whether or not is has been used before, which really matters.
They found no association between the frequency of eating fried foods in Spain (where olive and sunflower oils are prevalent) and the incidence of serious heart disease. However, the British Heart Foundation warned that Mediterranean diets are on the whole healthier, so we shouldn’t reach for the cooking oil just yet!
The researchers studied more than 40,000 people from the mid-90s to 2004 to see if regularly eating fried food increased the likelihood of suffering coronary heart disease that led to a heart attack or angina requiring surgery. The participants were divided into four groups, from lowest fried food consumption to highest, and found no significant difference in heart disease.
Overall, there were 606 incidences of heart disease, but these were split relatively evenly between the four groups. The authors concluded: “In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumptions and the risk of coronary heart disease or death.”
Professor Michael Leitzmann, of the University of Regensburg in Germany, said that two other studies had failed to find evidence of a link. He said: “Taken together, the myth that frying food is generally bad for the heart is not supported by available evidence. However, this does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences.”
Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Before we all reach for the frying pan it’s important to remember that this was a study of a Mediterranean diet, rather than British fish and chips. Our diet in the UK will differ from Spain, so we cannot say that this result would be the same for us too.”
The research was published in the British Medical Journal by the Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.
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Written exclusively for The Life Dept | Live Longer | 25 January 2012
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