A diet high in fried foods significantly increases the risk of suffering serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke according to a study published this Monday in the journal Heart.
That risk grows exponentially with each weekly increase of just 114 grams of fried foods, warn the authors of this research, led by the Center for Health Sciences of the University of Shenzhen (China).
In general, experts say, Western eating habits do not help maintain good cardiovascular health, but, until now, it was unclear how exactly it affects fried food intake.
To clarify this, the researchers selected 19 relevant studies published up to 2020.
Thus, they first collected data from 17 studies, which included 562,445 participants and 36,727 serious cardiovascular events – such as heart attacks or strokes – to assess the risks of cardiovascular disease.
They then collected data from six other studies, which included 754,873 people and 85,906 deaths recorded during a mean follow-up period of 9.5 years, to assess the possible link between the consumption of fried foods and deaths caused by “cardiovascular disease” and by ” other causes ”.
They found that, compared to the lowest category of weekly consumption of fried food, the risk of suffering a serious cardiovascular event in the highest increased by 28%, while the risk of coronary disease and heart failure rose 22 and 37%, respectively.
These risk percentages increased 3, 2, and 12%, respectively, with each weekly increase of just 114 grams of fried foods, the authors note.
They specify that all these figures could even be quite conservative, since several of the studies analyzed for this work only included one type of frying, either fried fish or chips, instead of a general intake of fried food.
It is also not entirely clear, you see, how, exactly, fried foods could influence the development of cardiovascular disease.
This type of food, the authors believe, increases energy intake due to its high fat content, while generating “trans fatty acids”, harmful to health, from hydrogenated oils used for frying.
This cooking method also increases the production of other chemical derivatives that affect the inflammatory response of the human body.
Other dishes, such as fried chicken or French fries, have a high salt content and, in addition, they are usually served with highly sugary drinks, especially in fast food restaurants, they conclude.