WASHINGTON Regularly eating fried chicken or fish is associated with a higher risk of death from any cause, specifically heart-related mortality, according to a study on postmenopausal women in the US.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that reducing consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, could have a positive public health impact.
Up to a third of North American adults have fast-food every day, and previous studies have suggested that a greater intake of fried food is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, researchers said.
The US researchers investigated the association of eating fried food with death from any cause, and in particular heart and cancer-related death.
They used questionnaire data to assess the diets of 106,966 women, aged 50 to 79, who enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) between 1993-1998 and who were followed up to February 2017.
During this time, 31,588 deaths occurred, including 9,320 heart-related deaths 8,358 cancer deaths and 13,880 from other causes.
The researchers looked at the women’s total and specific consumption of different fried foods, including: “fried chicken”; “fried fish, fish sandwich and fried shellfish (shrimp and oysters)”; and other fried foods, such as french fries, tortilla chips and tacos.
After taking account of potentially influential factors such as lifestyle, overall diet quality, education level and income, the researchers found that regularly eating fried foods was associated with a heightened risk of death from any cause and, specifically, heart-related death.
Those who ate one or more servings a day had an eight per cent higher risk compared with those who did not eat fried food.
One or more servings of fried chicken a day was linked to a 13 per cent higher risk of death from any cause and a 12 per cent higher risk of heart-related death compared with no fried food.
Similarly, one or more servings of fried fish/shellfish a day was linked to a seven per cent higher risk of death from any cause and a 13 per cent higher risk of heart-related death compared with no fried food.
However, the researchers found no evidence that eating fried food was associated with cancer-related death.
This is an observational study which only considers women in the US, so may not be applicable more widely, the researchers said.
The presence of “unidentified confounders is still possible”, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause, they said.
However, they highlight the large size and diversity of the study sample, and say that “we have identified a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality that is readily modifiable by lifestyle.”
“Reducing the consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, may have clinically meaningful impact across the public health spectrum,” the researchers said. (PTI)
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