Researchers say that eating fried food will not increase your risk of heart disease, as long as you use olive oil or sunflower oil.
A study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at the association between the frequency of fried food consumption in Spain- where olive and sunflower oil are mostly used- and the incidence of serious heart disease.
Spanish researchers followed more than 40,000 people from the mid-1990s to 2004, dividing them into 4 groups depending on their intake of fried food.
Although there were 606 incidents linked to heart disease (including heart attack and angina) in total, these incidents were split evenly over the 4 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 consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death."
However, the researchers noted that these findings could only apply to other Mediterranean countries with similar diets, where people tended to fry ‘fresh’ with olive and sunflower oil.
Fried foods from modern American-style takeaways are different because these tend to have been cooked in re-used oils, higher in trans-fats.
Victoria Taylor, senior heart health dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said:
"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.”
People with private medical insurance could be rewarded on their policy for living a healthy lifestyle. PruHealth’s Vitality scheme will award you additional Nectar points when you buy healthy food from Sainsbury’s, so compare health insurance online now.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012