Fried foods may not be bad for the heart – if they are cooked In healthy oils
There have been few studies on the effects of eating fried foods on cardiovascular disease.
This study used data from 40,757 people who took part in the Spanish cohort of the EPIC study.
Study participants came from five regions in Spain that had wide variability in diet. None of the participants had coronary heart disease when they enrolled in the study.
At the start of the study, researchers collected information on diet and how foods were prepared, including the type of oil used to fry foods.
The group was then followed-up for a median of 11 years. Researchers found that the study participants consumed large amounts of fried foods both at home and when dining out.
When cooking at home, 62% of the participants used olive oil and the rest used sunflower oil or other vegetable oils.
After controlling for factors such as BMI, waist circumference, and hypertension, researchers found that higher consumption of fried foods was not associated with higher risk of developing coronary heart disease nor was it associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality.
The authors caution that their results may be only applicable to other Mediterranean countries that have frying methods similar to Spain. Frying in olive oil or sunflower oil was not associated with increased risk, but frying in other kinds of fats, such as solid fats, could increase risk.
Higher consumption of fried foods was not a proxy for eating in fast food establishments in this study.
Oil is frequently reused in fast food establishments, which can degrade the oil and increase its trans fat content.
Overly reused oils may affect cardiovascular health. In this study, fried foods were often consumed at home, where it is unlikely that the oil was reused.
Finally, the consumption of salty, deep fried snacks is fairly low in Spain.