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Study: Foods Fried in Olive or Sunflower Oil Is Not Linked to Heart Disease

Sunflower oil

Sunflower oil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Eating food that’s been fried in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to heart disease according to research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The authors explain 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 culture or country where other cooking oilsand re-used oils were used for frying.

Olive oil from Imperia in Liguria, Italy.

Olive oil from Imperia in Liguria, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Western countries, frying is one of the most common methods of cooking. When food is fried, it increases calorie content because the food absorbs the fat of the oils.

It’s established that eating large amounts of fried food can increase certain heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity; The link between fried food and heart disease is continually investigated.

Research scientists from Autonomous University of Madrid, surveyed the cooking methods of 40,757 adults aged 29 to 69 over an 11-year period. None of the participants had heart disease when the study began.

Professional interviewers asked participants about their diet and cooking methods. Fried food was defined as food for which frying was the only cooking method used. Additional relevant questions were asked about whether food was fried, battered, crumbed or sauteed.

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 oil and sunflower oil 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.”

The study diminishes the myth that “frying food is generally bad for the heart” but also explains that this “does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences.” emphasized the research reports, also explaining specific aspects of frying food are relevant, such as the type of oil used.

Story Source:

BMJ-British Medical Journal.     Journal References: Consumption of fried foods and risk of coronary heart disease: Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. BMJ, 2012; \ Fried foods and the risk of coronary heart disease. BMJ, 2012

BMJ-British Medical Journal (2012, January 24). Food fried in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to heart disease, Spanish study finds.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

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