It’s the guilty pleasure we love and love to hate. The fried goodness that gives us such pleasure can also be murder on our bodies…or so we thought. A new study published in the British Medical Journal is claiming that eating fried foods isn’t that bad for your health after all. The study, which followed more than 40,000 people, two-thirds of whom were women, from the mid 1990s to 2004, found no association between the frequency of fried food consumption and serious heart disease.
But run out for that bucket of Popeye’s just yet.
The study was conducted in Spain where locals tend fry foods in olive or sunflower oil, which is not always the case in the U.S. The diets of those living in the Mediterranean has long been healthier than other countries so this study really doesn’t say to much about what affects fried foods has on the rest of the world.
Victoria Taylor, senior heart health dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“Participants in this study used unsaturated fats such as olive and sunflower oil to fry their food. We currently recommend swapping saturated fats like butter, lard or palm oil for unsaturated fats as a way of keeping your cholesterol down and this study gives further cause to make that switch. Regardless of the cooking methods used, consuming foods with high fat content means a high calorie intake. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease. A well-balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and veg and only a small amount of high fat foods, is best for a healthy heart.”
Although it looks like fried foods will still be a no-no for many American diets, perhaps switching to olive oil when frying and eating fried foods in moderation can allow people to indulge every once in awhile.
Do you eat a lot of fried foods?
Hey, Danielle! I’m loving your articles… keep them coming!
Just to clarify, some types of olive oil (depending on the fat content) can withstand higher frying temperatures (read more at http://www.oliveoilsource.com/page/heating-olive-oil), but the temperature is generally lower than other oils. I recommend safflower, sunflower or grapeseed oil for frying because of their higher smoke temperatures and clean taste. Mediterranean cuisines fry food, because they know which types of olive oil to use. They have more varieties and laws regulating the quality of olive oil. I did an interview about olive oil called “Appetizing Thoughts: Demystifying Olive Oil” at http://blog.sanuraweathers.com/2011/10/appetizing-thoughts-olive-oil/. Also learn the difference between how oils are extracted at http://blog.sanuraweathers.com/2011/08/fried-zucchini-flowers-ricotta-cheese/. As mentioned in your story, enjoy fried food sparely with a diet rich in vegetables, wholegrains and fruit.