Heightened Risk of Early Death Among Older Women Who Eat Fried Foods

Heightened Risk of Early Death Among Older Women Who Eat Fried Foods

A recent study links regularly eating fried foods, with a heightened risk of death from any cause, and heart-related death among menopausal women in the United States.

The Study

This study found foods like fried chicken and fried fish and shellfish were associated with a higher risk of heart-related death, particularly those were 50 to 65 years old. The study suggests we should reduce the amount of fried foods you eat, especially fried chicken and fried fish and shellfish.

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Did you know up to a third of North American adults have fast food every day? Previous other studies have suggested an association with a greater intake of fried food and a heightened risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But much of the evidence is limited and honestly subject to debate. So in order to try to address this, U.S. researchers investigated the association between eating fried food with death from any cause — in particular heart and cancer-related death.

Researchers used questionnaire data to assess the diets of 106,966 women, aged 50 to 79. These women were also enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative between 1993 and 1998 and were also followed up to February of 2017.

What Happened During This Time?

There were a total of 31,588 deaths that occurred. This includes 9,320 heart-related deaths, 8,358 cancer deaths, and 13,880 from other causes.

Researchers took a look at the women’s diet — specifically the consumption of different fried foods. This includes fried chicken and fried fish and shellfish. They also looked for french fries, tortilla chips, and tacos (but who isn’t?).

What Did They Find?

The researchers also took into account potentially influential factors such as lifestyle, overall diet quality, education level, and income.

They found regularly eating fried foods was associated with a heightened risk of death from any cause, but specifically, heart-related death. Those who ate one or more servings of fried chicken a day was linked to a 13% higher risk of death from any cause. They were also 12% higher risk of heart-related death when compared to no fried foods.

When it comes to fish, eating one or more servings per day was linked to a 7% higher risk of death from any cause, and a 13% higher risk of heart-related death when compared to no fried foods.

Researchers found no evidence that eating fried food was associated with cancer-related death.

Who Ate More Fried Foods?

They found that women who ate the most fried foods regularly tended to be younger, non-white, with less education and a lower income. They were more likely to be smokers, exercise less, and have a lower quality diet.

They found that women who ate the most fried foods regularly tended to be younger, non-white, with less education and a lower income. They were more likely to be smokers, exercise less, and have a lower quality diet.

Researchers note “unidentified confounders are still possible, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause.”

Your Lifestyle

When it comes down to it, your lifestyle is most important. Sure, that means you’re going to have to make some better food choices and move a little more… but what does that really mean?

With such a large and diverse sample in this study, there is an obvious 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 a clinically meaningful impact across the public health spectrum," they conclude.

But how do you really eat less fried food? Here are a few tips.

How to Eat Less Fried Food

I know it can be hard to find healthy food quickly. Instead of hitting up your local Arby’s every day, start making a plan to cook a meal at home. Heck, you could even prepare your own version of your favorite dish.

So that means you’re going to have to learn how to cook.

Cooking isn’t hard, especially if you start with the basics and build from there. Learning how to prepare proteins is easy — I suggest buying an instant-read meat thermometer and a decent set of knives, pots and pans, and baking sheets. I need an instant-read thermometer — I still under or overcook things.

But it’s a learning process. Be adventurous — the less processed foods you eat, natural foods will start tasting so much better.

Ground beef is the easiest to cook, all you have to do is season it and throw it in a preheated pan and break it up and making sure it turns brown. Making burgers isn’t hard, but making some taco meat is really easy.

Start with the basics and move up.

Bake Things

As you are learning to cook, you can start to make your favorite dishes at home. Throwing things in the oven is a great way to get a great, crispy treat. You may have heard the term oven-fried… but you have to try it.

Baking things is pretty easy — you follow the instructions. If it says bake at 350 for 35 minutes, flipping in the middle, that’s what you do. There’s no guesswork and you need to keep an alarm handy so you don’t over-bake your food.

I recommend getting comfortable with the stove and your oven. I personally use mine at least once or twice per day.

Stir Fry is Quick and Easy

Remember when I said I use my stove a lot? This is why.

It all started when I went to a Chinese buffet (go figure) and I tried the hibachi grill. There it was, piles of cut meat, fresh veggies, and the coolest flat top I’ve ever seen. The food was amazing and I was hooked.

Stir-frying is fast and really easy to cook. I have a wok and it is cooked in at least once a day.

Go out to the store and buy some boneless skinless chicken breast.

Try Grilling Out

As amazing a steak tastes on a charcoal grill, I use gas. Why? I haven’t had great luck with using charcoal.

Once I bought a gas grill, I was hooked. As 2019’s grill season rolls in, this will be my first official “season” of grilling… and I’m excited.

If it’s nice outside, bring the family out back and hang out while you cook. It’d be a great time to spend with your family and will be much healthier than getting some takeout.

Get an Air Fryer

An air fryer is something I’ve wanted for a while. I think work is giving me a bonus soon and I’m going to pick one up.

They work by circulating hot air around the food using a convection mechanism. Basically, a fan will circulate the hot air around the food at high speed. This cooks the food and produces a crispy layer.

This is called the Maillard effect and this used to be achieved by submerging the food in oil. You can fry anything, potato chips, chicken, fish, steak, fries, donuts, biscuits, bacon wrapped asparagus.

I’ve had people share a lot of recipes and there’s pretty much something for everyone.

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