by Tara Green
(NaturalNews) A common dietary fallacy among many people, resulting from misinformation in media outlets, is fear of fats. If you still harbor lingering anxieties about consuming any type of oil for fear you will have a heart attack, fear no more. A recent study in Spain found that eating food fried in olive or sunflower oil does not cause heart disease.
Spanish study focuses on Spanish style of cooking
The study, published in the British Medical Journal online, finds that the heart risk factors associated with eating fried foods do not apply to foods cooked in olive and sunflower oils. “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,” the researchers, led by Pilar Guallar-Castillon from Autonomous University of Madrid, concluded in their article.
Guallar-Castillon and her team drew on data for 40,757 Spanish adults aged 29 to 69 who participated in EPIC (the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study), a large-scale study of diet, health and lifestyle which recruited nearly half a million participants in ten European countries. None of the study participants were diagnosed with heart disease prior to the beginning of the study. Study subjects were interviewed about their diet and cooking methods. Subjects also supplied detailed information about how they cooked their food and whether they used sunflower or olive oil, the two most popular cooking oils in Spain. The researchers then divided participants into statistical groupings according to how much fried food they consumed
Eleven years after the study commenced, 606 coronary heart disease events and 1,135 deaths (from all causes) had occurred among the study subjects. Researchers compared this information with records about which subjects consumed the highest amounts of fried foods. After adjusting for factors such as BMI, high blood pressure and other risk factors, the scientists found no correlation between heart disease events or deaths and higher levels of fried food consumption. They found no difference in health results among subjects who used olive oil and those who used sunflower oil to fry their food.
Study results do not apply to fast food
The study authors emphasized that their study is influenced by the Spanish style of cooking which draws on olive or sunflower oil. They noted that in another country where solid and re-used oils were used for frying, the health consequences of eating fried food would not be far different. In an editorial accompanying the article, Michael Leitzmann of the University of Regensburg in Germany, wrote that the new Spanish study helps disprove the myth that “frying food is generally bad for the heart.” Leitzmann added, however, that this “does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences.”