Most of us know that a diet rich in fried foods is bad for us. A review of studies quantifies just how bad it can be.
In a meta-analysis of 19 studies that included diet and health data on more than 1.2 million men and women from around the world, Chinese researchers calculated the effect of eating French fries, fried fish, fried snacks and other fried foods on cardiovascular health.
Comparing the groups with the highest intake of fried food with people who ate the least over an average period of nine years, they found that high consumption of fried foods increased the relative risk for coronary heart disease by 22 percent; for stroke by 37 percent; for heart failure by 37 percent; for death from cardiovascular disease by 2 percent; and for death from any cause by 3 percent.
The analysis, in the journal Heart, found no evidence that one kind of fried food was any better than another. Using the combined data, the researchers calculated that each additional weekly 114-gram (about 4-ounce) serving of fried food increases the risk for heart failure by 12 percent and for a major cardiovascular event by 3 percent.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans discourages fried food consumption, but it offers no specific limits on amounts in a healthy diet.
The senior author, Dr. Fulan Hu of the Shenzhen University Health Science Center in Shenzhen, China, offered this advice: “Reduce restaurant meals. Reduce fast-food intake. Use healthier boiling, steaming, baking or grilling cooking methods instead of frying for home-cooked food.”