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Fried food not linked to CVD risk

Eating food fried in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD) or premature death, according to findings from a paper published recently on

The authors, led by Professor Pilar Guallar-Castillón (Autonomous University of Madrid), surveyed the cooking methods of 40,757 adults aged 29–69 over an 11-year period.  All participants were free of coronary heart disease at baseline.

Trained interviewers asked participants about their diet and cooking methods. Fried food was defined as food for which frying was the only cooking method used. Questions were also asked about whether food was fried, battered, crumbed or sautéed. 
The participants’ diet was divided into ranges of fried food consumption, the first quartile related to the lowest amount of fried food consumed and the fourth indicated the highest amount.

During the follow-up there were 606 events linked to heart disease and 1,134 deaths.

 The authors conclude: “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”.

oilThe authors stress, however, that their study took place in Spain, a Mediterranean country where olive or sunflower oil is used for frying and their results would probably not be the same in another country where solid and re-used oils were used for frying.

In an accompanying editorial,2 Professor Michael Leitzmann (University of Regensburg, Germany) says the study explodes the myth that “frying food is generally bad for the heart” but stresses that this “does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences”. He adds that specific aspects of frying food are relevant, such as the type of oil used.


1 Guallar-Castillón P, Rodríguez-Artalejo F, Lopez-Garcia E, et al.  Consumption of fried foods and risk of coronary heart disease: Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. BMJ 2012;344:e363

2 Leitzmann MF, Kurth T.  Fried foods and the risk of coronary heart disease. BMJ 2012;344:d8274

Published on: February 7, 2012

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